Singapore Media Watch

Friday, October 20, 2006

Readership figures: Do Singaporeans have a choice ?

The Straits Times 20 October 2006
Krist Boo


Straits Times keeps No.1 spot, drawing 1.35 million readers

The Straits Times has pulled in 30,000 more readers to its news offerings this year that last year in a world that has seen declining newspaper readership.

It retained top spot as the favorite daily in Singapore with 1.35 million readers this year, up from last year's 1.32 million.

Its editor Han Fook Kwang, calling this "very good news", said: "Readership is failing in many newspapers round the world because news is available free on the Internet, on TV and on radio."

TODAY 20 October 2006
Christie Loh

Without qualifiers, TODAY is Singapore's No 2 daily

Tabloid-sized TODAY continues to defy naysayers into its sixth year of being.

According to the Nielsen Media Research's annual survey released yesterday, the free newspaper moved up to become Singapore's second most-read daily - regardless of language - as consumers defected from the Chinese to the English media. (Read more...)

Our Review

In a market where the print media industry is monopolized completely by a single company - the Singapore Press Holdings, such rankings of readership figures serve little useful purpose other than an internal QC of the chief editors of the various dailies.

Do Singaporeans have a choice? Given the absence of variable alternatives, Singaporeans have no where else to turn except the mainstream media for their daily news. Only by topping the readership charts in a free market with real competitors can the Straits Times claim to be the most popular newspaper read by a majority of Singaporeans.

Are readership figures alone an accurate reflection of the success of a newspaper? Without the inclusion of other parameters such as report authencity and objectivity, press freedom and quality of analyzes, this figure is meaningless and cannot be used as a barometer for press rating.

Singaporeans read the newspapers for a variety of reasons. We depend on it entirely for local news, financial reports and announcement of new policies from the government that affect our daily lives which aren't reported elsewhere.

In other words, we have no choice but to read it. Reading it just for information does not necessarily mean we are satisfied with the quality of reporting. And certainly it does not translate to trust and respect for our journalists.

The comment by Mr Han seems to imply that SPH has managed to face off the challenge posed by the alternative media as evident by the increased in readership enjoyed by both the Straits Times and TODAY for the past one year.

However, this does not tell us if the alternative media is increasing in popularity. The hidden mesage inherent appears to be: the alternative media lacks credibility and the majority of Singaporeans do not support it. To a reader who is not familar with the alternative media, he will be led to have pre-conceived notions of it.

In order to have a complete picture, we need to have the following information:

1. What is the readership trend among young Singaporeans aged 15 to 39?

2. Of those who read the Straits Times, how many follow up by reading news reported on the internet as well?

3. What are the readers' rating on the different segments of news reporting such as local news, political commentaries, international news coverage, sports and life section?

SPH should solicit feedback from Singaporeans, which are ultimately its customers on how they rate their printed dailies in the following areas: coverage of local politics and current affairs, commentaries on government policies, and provision of objective, balanced and comprehensive views and let us judge for ourselves instead of the usual self-appraisal to paint a beautiful picture.

Lacking such crucial information, readership alone is not representative of the true sentiments of the general population. The verdict is still out for the Straits Times and TODAY.

What are your views? Do you think the Straits Times and TODAY are increasing in popularity among Singaporeans? Will the alternative media such as online news and blogs like ours have any impact on the mainstream media's monopoly on information?

Please share with us your views here!


  • Wah u compare yr stupid webpage to Straits Time? Anyway pls reply to the follow question

    How many ppl ready yr web?
    1. 1 (Only me)
    2. 2 (Me and You)
    3. 3 (Who you kidding?)

    What are the avg age of your reader?
    1. Under 6
    2. Under 12
    3. Other

    How do reader react after reading your web?
    1. LOL (My reaction)
    2. Rotflmao
    3. Do understand cause under 6 year old

    Give up!!!!! Old ppl like you(above 18) should just give up and shut up the future belong to the younger gen not you. What freedom of press? You lot are too infuence by the USA. Banana Ppl.

    We are 140? What abt us ranking no.2 and no.5? What do you hope to achive? Get a noble prize? Pls do something more useful to your spare time. And no one will support yr useless web. What we need is not freedom of press. We need to be more educated in social and morale. Look at Taiwan and hong kong the so call freedom of press is shit.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:06 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Sgmediawatch, at 3:33 PM  

  • Dear annoymous,

    Thanks for your kind feedback. However, we do not quite agree with what you say.

    Contrary to what you may think, all of us are full-time professionals with hectic daily schedules. We have to squeeze out every second we can find to work on this blog.

    We will continue to post relevant articles and reviews on our blogs.

    You are entitled to your own opinions. Those who do not like what we write will never revisit our blog again, but there will be many who will continue to support our initiative.

    Unfortunately, we do not expect to see you at our blog in the near future to witness for yourself how fast and far we can continue to grow.

    Yours sincerely,

    By Blogger Sgmediawatch, at 3:43 PM  

  • Hi Editor,

    You are generous enough to reply to this kiddie, if I were you, I won't even bother to acknowledge his presence. Keep up the good work and we will continue to support you!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:16 PM  

  • I believe that journalism is a sacred profession much like its fellow professions of teaching and healthcare, there has to be a conscience in journalism. I remembered Christiane Amanpour of CNN once remarked how ethical journalism push the UN for swift actions in the Balkan Conflict in the 90's, they shamed the EU and the United States for their inaction during the crisis. The same applies too for our journalists, it's time Singaporeans read between the fine lines of the print in the Straits Times and try to be more discerning in accepting whatever that has been reported in the 140th.

    By Anonymous Tyler, at 9:57 PM  

  • Ignore that guy, he or she was most probably ordered to sent in that comment....there R many of us who appreciate what U R doing....and U R helping many "unthinking" singaporeans to think...Thanks

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:16 PM  

  • Hey Kiddie,

    The way you wrote reflect your personality. Show how ignorant & arrogant you are! You fit into the age group of 6, if I am not wrong. S'pore Media Watch, keep up with your good work! I visit your blog everyday.

    Singaporean residing in USA.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:36 AM  

  • Hi Editor,
    Yes, there will be those want to know the real world and those want their MSM TV shows. It is good to have the "kiddie" to write, it shows what our system has produced. From here, we learn about human nature and try to steer our young from having this kind of character. I hope that his/her parents are prepared when he grows older...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:44 AM  

  • I agree with the above poster.

    Keep it up, I'm a regular reader here.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:51 PM  

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