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Singapore English newspaper readership stable as digital growth offsets print declines: Nielsen

READERSHIP of Singapore's English dailies has remained stable as growth in digital readers offsets print declines, according to the latest Nielsen Singapore Media Index Report on Wednesday.

The Business Times' combined average daily readership - including its weekend edition - held steady at 2.3 per cent, from 2.2 per cent the previous year. The Straits Times, along with its Sunday edition The Sunday Times, saw a combined readership of 32.4 per cent, compared to 31.5 per cent the previous year.

With a four percentage point growth in digital-only readership to 14 per cent of the population, The Straits Times now has a similar proportion of print-only and digital-only readers. Its digital-only readers are younger and more educated, with a median age of 34 compared to the paper's overall readership's median age of 39, and 74 per cent having had tertiary education, compared to 66 per cent overall.

The New Paper, which became a free sheet in 2018, maintained its readership at 5.5 per cent of the population. Its reader profile has become younger and more educated, with a median age of 39 - down from 41 a year ago - and 59 per cent having had tertiary education, up from 52 per cent previously.

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

Of Singapore Press Holdings' stable of newspapers, only Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao and evening paper Shinmin Daily saw declines in readership. Although Lianhe Zaobao's digital-only readership grew to an estimated 88,000 from 54,000 the previous year, this was not enough to offset a decline in print-only readers. Its combined daily readership was 10.9 per cent of the population or an estimated 466,000 readers, down from 13.1 per cent the year before.

Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao's readership held steady at 7.1 per cent, with digital growth compensating for print losses. Shinmin Daily, however, saw readership decline to 7.7 per cent from 9.2 per cent previously.

Overall, combined daily readership for all newspapers stood at 56.1 per cent, down from 60.1 per cent the previous year.

Conducted between July 2017 and July 2018, the Nielsen Singapore Media Index Report surveyed 4,688 people aged 15 and above on their media consumption, with the sample weighted by age, gender and ethnicity to be representative of the Singapore population.