On Wednesday (13 November), market survey company Nielsen published its annual report on media consumption habits which found that more Singaporeans are consuming news online, despite an overall drop in readership in Singapore newspaper as they continue to print hard copy.
The 2019 Nielsen Consumer & Media View Study also revealed that the trend is more obvious among younger Singaporeans, especially with Gen Y (aged 25 to 39) who tend to go online to read news. In fact, 76.8% of respondents in that age group said they had done so over the last month.
The survey was conducted on 4,688 individuals in Singapore aged 15 and above between July 2018 and June 2019. The results are measured mainly by sex, race and age to be representative of the Singapore population.
As a whole, the survey found out that the combined readership (hard copy and digital) of newspapers in the Republic dropped to 47.2% this year, down from 51.4% the year before.
It also stated that the Straits Times (ST) lost 110,000 of its readers because its average daily reach fell 2.9 percentage points to 26.9% this year. ST’s daily readership also declined as it now stands at 1.16 million, compared to 1.27 million previously.
In addition, the report added that The New Paper (TNP) daily readership also dropped by 55,000 to 180,000, whereas the Business Times readership fell from 93,000 to 73,000.
ST and TNP hit back
However, ST argued that the publication continues to be the country’s most-read news publication as it has more than 1.2 million readers viewing its content across all its print, online, mobile and other platforms.
The Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which owns ST, published this findings on Wednesday as well after Nielsen’s report was out.
SPH also stated that figures from Google Analytics showed an increase of close to 40% in the number of users in Singapore on ST’s online site between June and October 2019.
On top of that, ST also said in its article that Nielsen’s report did not look at its recent spike in traffic and readers who view the content of the publication through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Additionally, ST noted that its readers consume content via other different forms like e-mail newsletters, podcasts, radio programmes and videos.
Separately, TNP also reported in its article that although it agrees that the publication’s overall readership reduced by 1.4% from 5.6% due to prolonged weakening of print readership, it revealed that Nielsen’s data failed to include their readers who access TNP’s content via social media sites.
Emphasising this point, TNP noted that data from its Google Analytics showed that the publication has witnessed a growth of 69% on its social media platforms
Its readership on the website and app also went up by 163% from June to October 2019 as they pushed more local stories that get Singaporeans talking.