Staff Reporters
Sep 2, 2021

Women to Watch 2021: Michala Sabnani, South China Morning Post

Print advertising may be rapidly declining, but Sabnani has found a way to grow and innovate a publisher’s branded content studio with ease.

Women to Watch 2021: Michala Sabnani, South China Morning Post
SEE ALL OF THE 2021 WOMEN TO WATCH
Celebrating the torchbearers in the APAC marcomms industry

Michala Sabnani

Director of content, Morning Studio
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong

Michala Sabnani was a broadcast whiz at CNN where she spent eight years working on some of the region’s most-watched segments, including CNN Asia’s morning live news shows, Talk Asia featuring the likes of Anna Wintour and Ed Sheeran, and several documentary features. 

Upon moving to South China Morning Post (SCMP) in 2018, she swiftly co-founded Morning Studio, a branded-content agency that lives within the news publication. Through leading the creative direction at Morning Studio, Sabnani brings her editorial expertise to the commercial realm, helping client campaigns employ an innovative style of storytelling. To do this, she grew a team of creatives, video specialists, journalists, strategists and content marketers.

In its two years since conception, Morning Studio has worked on hundreds of campaigns for brands such as Rolex, IBM, Amazon, and Marriott, and has achieved 50% year-on-year growth in branded content while maintaining profit margins of over 40%—despite social unrest in Hong Kong leading to cautious spending. Plus, Sabnani’s sights are set beyond Hong Kong; the Studio has managed to foster partnerships in mainland China and across Southeast Asia growing by 640% and 320%, respectively, in these two markets in 2020. On top of that, she paved the way for SCMP to monetise its social-first, Gen-Z focused media outfit, Goldthread, for the first time.

Sabnani is also something of a superstar internally for the publication. Not only was she a key force in training the sales team to evolve their process of selling content and to adopt a more human-centric approach, she was also tasked with aiding SCMP-wide rebranding efforts, working on the collaterals to launch the brand’s subscription model. Her unique blend of commercial sensibilities and editorial know-how make her a catch in this ever-changing media landscape. 

SEE ALL OF THE 2021 WOMEN TO WATCH
Celebrating the torchbearers in the APAC marcomms industry

 

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