Saturday, October 20, 2007

Newspaper Readership

Weekend TODAY stated in their papers that their viewership has gone up and MediaCorp businesses are doing extremely well; they also took the chance to fire a volleyball @ their only competitor, the Singapore Press Holdings by quoting the falling viewership of their media productions.

Well, based from the bit of information given in Weekend TODAY, I will also offer my 2 cents on the performance of the various papers and their parent companies.

1. The Straits Times
Readership fell from 1,355,000 (40.2%) in 2006 to 1,334,000 (37.9%) in 2007. The falling readership can mean many things:

- Consistent with the falling readership of sold papers Worldwide. With the various alternative medias present in our World, TV, radio and the internet, some people become less inclined to spend 30-45mins reading through the dailies.

- Content not up to reader's expectations. As a main daily, The Straits Times has to balance between juicy gossips and serious discussions. Add the local political climate to it and it makes The Straits Times a boring paper to read. Moreover, many of the real big news that is happened in Singapore started making out in the online forums, and the ST is either slow to report on the story, or gives an extremely biased report (imo). As a result, the salient is lost and readers gets dissapointed.

- Cost of living rised, so people saving money. Don't underestimate the power of 80c. 80c can buy me a cup of tea. The money saved from buying newspaper everyday can allow me to continue drinking my tea at the coffeeshop. I either read free papers or listen to radio or buy only 3 times per week. (Thats how i buy my papers anyway....saves money and you know enough of the news anyways) And net savvy youths can always read online news (BBC, ST online, CNA...)

Readership rosed from 571,000 (16.9%) in 2006 to 590,000 (16.8%) in 2007.

- More people grabbing free papers. To me the increase in readership doesnt really mean anything for TODAY. It could mean that their logistics improved or they printed more papers. What can be done to see the effectiveness of their papers is to see the number of advertisers willing to place ads at TODAY. That is the most effective measurement of their sucess.

3. The New Paper
Readership rosed from 492,000 (14.6%) in 2006 to 531,000 (15.1%) in 2007.

- A wierd point is why only count readers/ viewers from age 15 onwards? I believe in TNP's case, the 11-14 age who are sports inclined or learning to read newspapers should be reading this paper as starter. Similarly in TODAY's case. What's better to get a kid to start reading a paper if its free and short enough to read and digest?

- This could mean that more people took a liking to sensational news reporting.

- I can also infer that ST suffered loss in sales due to the rise in the other print media as well. TODAY, TNP and the Busness Times all had readership up except ST.

The Business Times
Readership rose from 84,000 (2.5%) in 2006 to 86,000 (2.4%) in 2007.

- I dont read BT, so cant really comment on it. Although readership did increase, the increase is less that population growth, hence market share fell.

I wont continue on the Chinese, Malay and Indian papers, since my focus is on the English papers, but a brief look at Weekend TODAY shows falling readership in all papers except Lianhe Zaobao, which defied the trend.

In another post, I will write out some of my opinions of the other part of this article, this one on TV and Radio.

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