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Singapore Telecommunication Limited’s Group Digital Life Business: The Rise of the Digital Economy

Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGX: Z74) is a global technology firm with a presence in Asia, Australia, Africa and the United States.

The company, which is more popularly known as Singtel, organises its business into three main segments: Group Consumer, Group Enterprise and Group Digital Life. The Group Digital Life segment contributed over 3% of Singtel’s sales for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2017 (FY2017).

Singtel’s FY2017 annual report included an interview with Samba Natarajan, the executive leading the charge at its Group Digital Life business. Here are some highlights:

A 3-pronged attack

With the rise of the digital economy, Singtel is positioning itself for a data-centric world. With that in mind, the telco is focusing on three key areas:

“Singtel is capturing opportunities in the digital economy by leveraging our telco strengths in three focus areas: digital marketing, premium over-the-top (OTT) video, and advanced data analytics and intelligence”

For digital marketing, Singtel has Amobee leading the charge. Meanwhile, the firm also has a joint venture with Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. for an online streaming service called HOOQ. Elsewhere, Singtel’s Dataspark taps on location and mobility data to deliver geospatial analytics.

Beyond the above, Singtel also has corporate venture capital (VC) fund called Innov8. The fund invests in tech start-ups and emerging technologies.

The only constant is change

The digital advertising space has been evolving. Natarajan said:

“Digital advertising as we know it is very different from a few years ago. Mobile devices have become pervasive and that has changed the way we consume information and interact.”

Natarajan said that marketers are starting to adopt a multi-screen approach to advertising, as opposed to the single screen approach in the past. Furthermore, buyers are also shifting towards programmatic ads, that is the automated process of running a digital ad campaign.

With all the changes so far, it would not be surprising to see more in the future.

Tapping into the vast network

Natarajan also gave a hint towards Singtel’s larger strategy to leverage on its vast network of users:

“Our priority is for Amobee to continue to innovate and grow its presence across channels and expand into the Asia Pacific, where the Singtel Group reaches some 640 million customers across 22 countries.”

For instance, HOOQ is available in Indonesia, India, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore. It’s no coincidence that Singtel has associates in each of the five countries above. Dataspark is also looking to tap into the immense amount of data that flows through the Singtel network.

In all, the Group Digital Life business is small but could be a significant contributor if one of its ideas takes off in a big way.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong doesn't own shares in any company mentioned.