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Chinese newspapers reaching saturation point?

Fri 2011-Nov-25 @ +08 08:00:00 am

Chinese papers seem to top table, but Rita leaves out some figures

AMENDED
More Malaysian Chinese read newspapers than members of the other communities, and a greater number of Chinese-language newspapers are sold than newspapers in other languages, according to Rita Sim in her column at the NST yesterday.

She says the greater penetration of the Chinese-language press in the community reflects the strictly non-partisan flavour of the newspapers to satisfy an almost fanatical following which, she says, is also more openly critical of their newspapers.

Although Rita contends that Chinese-language newspapers sell more copies, and that more Malaysia Chinese than others read newspapers, she relies on ABC figures alone for her argument.

She does not take into account the newspapers sold which are not audited by ABC. The largest of these is Sinar Harian, which has a following of an estimated 120,000-plus copies and some of the smaller Malay weeklies. Adding those figures to the ABC totals would show a larger universe of Malay-language newspaper sales. (All Chinese papers submit to ABC. However the Tamil section includes only Makkal Osai, and not Malaysia Nanban or Tamil Nesan, which do not submit figures and the English section does not include Malay Mail and Malaysian Reserve.) Kwong Wah Jit Poh of Penang also does not submit to audit.

Rita, a policy analyst and researcher, was until recently executive director of Sin Chew. She doesn’t give a source for her readership figures, but the 2010 half-year ABC (circulation audit) figures show a market penetration of exactly 25 per cent: one of four adult Malaysia Chinese buys a Chinese-language newspaper.

Taking an average of four readers to one newspaper, that figure implies that the Chinese-language press is close to market saturation and further growth will be dependent on either the population growing dramatically bigger, or that Chinese-language newspapers must diversify in content to persuade adult Malaysian Chinese to buy more than one Chinese-language newspaper.

That may not be possible, as some Malaysian Chinese readers already buy an additional newspaper, either in Malay or English.

This is what Rita said:

Of the 4.4 million Chinese adults (aged 15 and above) in Peninsular Malaysia, 93 per cent (4.04 million) are Chinese literate and 64 per cent (2.8 million) read at least one Chinese daily — five times more than the Chinese who read English dailies.

While these figures show how cohesive the community is, in terms of national figures the Audit Bureau of Circulations puts Malaysia-wide Chinese press circulation (for the second half of last year) at 1,009,825 copies per day — more than the Malay press at 963,122, the English newspapers at 820,151, and the Tamil press at 30,908.

In short: more Chinese read newspapers than members of the other communities, and more Chinese newspapers are sold in Malaysia whose majority population is non-Chinese-literate.

Full article:

» Chinese readers are loyal but demanding


Amended to mention Kwong Wah.

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