ST still best read newspaper: Nielsen

Half of the ST's readers were professionals, managers, executives and businessmen, highlighted the Nielsen survey, which polled 4,688 people aged 15 and above.
Half of the ST's readers were professionals, managers, executives and businessmen, highlighted the Nielsen survey, which polled 4,688 people aged 15 and above.ST FILE PHOTO

Readership growth aided by ST.com, with rise in daily readers online of close to 45%

The Straits Times continues to be Singapore's best read newspaper, bucking an industry-wide trend by growing its overall readership through its digital platform.

According to the latest annual Singapore Media Index Report released by Nielsen yesterday, 29.8 per cent of Singapore residents aged 15 and above read ST each day, and it marks a percentage point improvement from last year.

While most other newspapers saw a decline in readership, ST's positive numbers come on the back of ST.com's success.

It saw a growth in the number of daily readers online of close to 45 per cent between last July and June this year - from 413,000 to 597,000. These numbers include The Sunday Times readership.

This made up for declining print numbers, which went from 713,000 readers a day to 600,000.

In another positive note for the newspaper, its different platforms were able to attract different age groups, including the younger crowd.

Exclusive print readers had a median age of 48, but among those who read only the digital version of ST, the median age was 34, with the largest group of readers aged between 20 and 34.

Half of the ST readers were professionals, managers, executives and businessmen (PMEB), highlighted the Nielsen survey, which polled 4,688 people aged 15 and above.

Overall, newspaper readership dropped 4 percentage points this year, with print registering a larger decline of 8.7 percentage points and digital growing 3.1 percentage points.

The Nielsen survey stated that consumption of daily news was important to the adult population as the combined readership of local print and online newspapers reached one in two adults. Digital versions also reached out to one in five adults on a daily basis.

"Consumers are increasingly viewing local newspapers online, with digital readership of such publications registering growth," said Mr Yee Chong Moon, Nielsen Singapore's executive director for media.

SPH's other English-language papers, The New Paper and The Business Times, had an average daily readership of 5.5 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively.

The New Paper had the highest proportion of readers aged 15 to 29 years old (28.5 per cent), while seven in 10 of those who read The Business Times were PMEBs.

Lianhe Zaobao remained the top Chinese-language paper among the Chinese population, with a daily readership of 12.7 per cent. However, this was lower from last year as digital readership was not able to make up for the loss in print readers.

While the median age of Zaobao readers is 54 years, numbers show that more of its younger readers are taking the digital route. The largest growth in its digital readership came from the 35 to 54 age range.

Malay-language paper Berita Harian's daily combined readership was 3.2 per cent, while Tamil Murasu had 0.8 per cent.

Some 21 per cent of those surveyed visited Channel NewsAsia's website on a weekly basis. Mediacorp's free sheet, Today, which went fully digital last year, was not included in the survey results.

Mr Yee said local readers continue to give their "stamp of approval" to established local news providers as their trusted source of news content.

According to Nielsen's Singapore Digital Consumer Study, adults accessed online news content mainly from news publishers (68.3 per cent), compared with other news sources (35.6 per cent).

Among Nielsen's other findings are that music streaming registered the highest growth among online activities, with close to two in five doing so, while four in five watched television, movies and videos, and more than half of adults accessed news online on an average month.

Nine in 10 adults tune in to radio on a weekly basis, with Class 95 having the most listenership (18.2 per cent) among English stations, followed by Kiss92 (13.6 per cent), 987 (12.6 per cent), Gold 90.5 (9.6 per cent) and SPH's One FM 91.3 (5.5 per cent). Love 97.2 came out on top among Chinese listeners.

Kiss92 is also owned by SPH.

When it comes to television, eight in 10 local viewers tune in to free-to-air channels, with Chinese-language Channel 8 coming out on top with a weekly reach of 51.1 per cent. Pay TV had a weekly viewership of 41.6 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2018, with the headline 'ST still best read newspaper: Nielsen'. Print Edition | Subscribe