A poor showing in Q1 could mean at least a 10% revenue decline.
Singapore Press Holding's (SPH) had its ad page count fall by 14% for Q1, UOB Kay Hian revealed.
According to the broker, this is the sharpest decline ever seen for Q1, which has historically been one of its stronger quarters and was comparable to the weakness seen in 3Q2017.
"Q1 typically sets the tone for SPH’s page count for the rest of the year," UOB Kay Hian analyst Foo Zhi Wei noted.
Sharp drops in advertising were seen across all segments, with the classifieds reporting the sharpest decline of 22% YoY. The recruit and display segments saw declines of 15% and 11% YoY, respectively.
Whilst Q3 has historically been the strongest quarter, the variance against Q1 has been around 1%.
As such, the double-digit drop in page count potentially points to a sharper-than-expected decline in media revenue for 2018, UOB Kay Hian said.
"With Q1 typically making up 26% of SPH’s page count, annualising the figure points to a full-year page count decline of 11% yoy. Barring a mid-year recovery/worsening in the segment, our current assumption for a 10% YoY decline in FY18 seems on track," Foo added.
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