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Readership of English newspapers stable: Nielsen

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The Straits Times, along with its Sunday edition The Sunday Times, had combined readership of 32.4 per cent, compared to 31.5 per cent previously.

Singapore

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 print and online 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, had combined readership of 32.4 per cent, compared to 31.5 per cent previously.

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

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

"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' (SPH) newspapers - including The Business Times - only Chinese dailies Lianhe Zaobao and Shin Min Daily News saw declines in readership.

Lianhe Zaobao's digital-only readers increased to an estimated 88,000 from 54,000 the previous year, but this did not fully offset a decline in print-only readers. Its combined daily readership was 10.9 per cent or an estimated 466,000 readers, down from 13.1 per cent the year before.

Evening paper Lianhe Wanbao's readership held steady at 7.1 per cent, with digital growth compensating for print losses. But Shin Min Daily News readership declined to 7.7 per cent from 9.2 per cent previously.

For all SPH newspapers, the combined print and online daily readership was 56.1 per cent, down from 60.1 per cent the previous year, including weekend editions.

Magazine readers stayed wedded to print, with only 7.6 per cent browsing digital versions. SPH's Her World remained the most popular women's monthly, with a reach of 2.6 per cent.

Nielsen found that in an average month, 54.3 per cent of respondents accessed news, current affairs and e-newspapers online, while 81.3 per cent watched television, movies or videos online. On a weekly basis, 80.1 per cent watched free-to-air television channels and 41.6 per cent watch pay-TV. Channel NewsAsia had a weekly viewership of 28.9 per cent, while 21 per cent of respondents visited its website each week.

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.