Standing out among the crowded digital content space can be a challenge for most newsrooms, especially so for news outlets like Today, which has a 17-year print legacy as Singapore’s second most-read newspaper.
After ceasing our print edition in 2017 and fully transitioning to digital, we have been on a journey that saw us navigating the complexities and challenges of the digital media landscape.
Today was the first, and to date is still the only, national newspaper in Singapore to take this bold decision amid a global decline in readership for print publications.
A major milestone for us came in 2020 when we turned 20. Today made another brave decision to distinguish itself from other news outlets. We identified a market that has been under-served in Singapore: Millennials looking for intelligent, insightful, incisive news as well as useful information to help them join the dots and make sense of the world.
Exploring a new demographic
Serving content to this group does not mean dumbing down our content. To reach the Millennial audience, we had to understand what mattered to them and what issues they tend to be vocal about. We managed to do that through our inaugural Today Youth Survey in 2021, where we sought the views of over 1,000 Singaporeans aged 18 to 35 on six topics: racism, religion, LGBTQ attitudes, gender dynamics, the impact of COVID-19 on mental well-being and social ties, and career and material success.
Based on the survey findings, we started planning four Webinars that discussed the survey topics, as well as providing a safe but thought-provoking space for constructive public discourse. The Webinars were held between November 12 and December 3, 2021, when our panelists — which included Today journalists and editors, academics, and key opinion leaders — discussed the survey’s findings.
This was also the first time Today hosted livestream Webinars simultaneously on TikTok and Instagram. These two platforms were chosen as they were a perfect fit with our audience’s age group and social media habits. Based on our insights, our TikTok and Instagram accounts have the greatest number of followers aged 24 to 35, so the decision to livestream on these two platforms was obvious.
The Webinars were a success and well received. Viewership exceeded 11,600 in total for all four sessions, with peak live viewership at any point in time crossing over 200 on average. All sessions garnered a total of over 5,000 likes and 1,000 comments.
Looking to the future
Our Webinars have also caught the attention of government agencies and private sector firms, which are interested in hosting similar talk shows on our social media accounts. Going forward, we will scale up our annual Today Youth Survey and live Webinar series to increase viewership and possibly via a hybrid (physical and virtual) format.
Being able to stand apart with intelligent, insightful, and incisive news for Millennials has been the hallmark of Today’s success so far. Our experience with our live Webinars has shown that this is exactly what Singaporean Millennials want from a digital news site — content that aligns with their passions and interests.