ST tops in newspaper market, more readers spend at least 30min on it - Oct 20, 2007 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

ST tops in newspaper market, more readers spend at least 30min on it

Print media still strong and cable TV gains viewers: Nielsen survey

By Chua Hian Hou
Oct 20, 2007
The Straits Times

THE Straits Times continues to dominate the newspaper market here, with a growing number of readers who spend more time perusing its pages.

Research firm The Nielsen Company published its annual media index yesterday.

It showed that 37.9 per cent of people read The Straits Times, giving the paper more than 1.3 million readers here.

The paper was found to be a 'staple read' for six in 10 professionals, managers, executives and businessmen. This is the most desirable demographic for the advertising industry, being decision makers and big spenders.

Although readership levels dipped 2.3 percentage points, readers are spending more time on the paper, with 67 per cent spending 30 minutes or more on it, up 2 percentage points from the year before.

The Chinese-language Lianhe Zaobao was the second most-read paper here, with 17 per cent of Singaporeans reading it, up 0.4 percentage points.

It overtook freesheet Today, in third place with a 16.8 per cent readership, down 0.1 percentage point.

Another Singapore Press Holdings publication, the free daily My Paper which was launched last June, has already gained a respectable 5 per cent readership, with 65 per cent of its readers from the white-collar crowd.

The New Paper has also made inroads, registering a 6 percentage point gain among condominium dwellers and 3 percentage point growth among students.

Despite 'new media choices and changing consumer habits', the report said, print and other traditional media remain 'an integral part of people's media choice'.

Nielsen interviewed 4,723 people here aged 15 and above over a 12-month period from last July in its annual survey of the media industry.

Among broadcasters, free-to-air TV channels saw broad-based declines, with Channel 5 taking the biggest hit: a 7.8 point drop in viewership to 30.5 per cent. Channel 8 fell 6.3 points to 51.3 per cent, while Channel U dropped 6.9 points to 34.6 per cent.

Losses by free-to-air TV stations were apparently cable TV's gains. Cable TV viewership was up 1.4 points to 36.6 per cent.

Nielsen spokesman Rebecca Tan said cable TV 'has seen much growth in the last few years and continues to exhibit high potential'.

As pay-TV providers add more channels, the medium is likely to attract a bigger audience, she added.

With SingTel's entry into the pay-TV arena in July, she expects more 'adjustments in the viewing patterns and habits of people in Singapore in the near future'.

English radio stations 'performed well', the report said. Class 95FM retained its top spot with its 23 per cent reach among listeners.

Radio 91.3 underwent a rebranding exercise last July and 'continues to grow its listener base and register an improved reach of 5 per cent', up 1 percentage point, the report said.

Among the Chinese stations, YES 93.3FM continued its stay at the top. Love 97.2FM, with its 21 per cent reach, overtook Capital 95.8FM's 20 per cent reach to snag the runner-up spot. Capital was last year's runner up.

Magazines were generally stable, while watching movies at the cinema increased in popularity with 24 per cent of people here visiting the cinema monthly.