PETALING JAYA: The Star has not only retained its position as the country’s top-selling English daily, but is one of only two paid-circulation national dailies to grow its print circulation in the first half of this year.
In releasing its latest audit report yesterday, the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) Malaysia said The Star’s print circulation rose from 289,611 in the second half of last year to 291,068 during the January to June period this year.
The Sunday Star’s figure increased from 292,226 to 293,195 for the same period, it said.
The only other national paid-circulation daily to see growth was Berita Harian.
New Straits Times’ print circulation continued to decline, falling to 74,711 from 77,685 in the second half of last year and 115,570 in the first half .
The Star also substantially extended its lead in digital replica circulation. Both The Star and Sunday Star ePaper saw a 64% jump from the preceding audit cycle, reaching 81,367 and 81,498 copies respectively.
The closest rival is The Edge with its digital circulation of 9,667, followed by New Straits Times at 3,347.
ABC vice-chairman Fan Chen Yip, who is also audit committee chairman, said at a press conference that nearly all newspaper publishers registered an increase of between 20% and 40% in their digital circulation, which was a good sign.
“Another good sign is the increasing number of ABC newspaper members submitting details of digital replica copies,” he said.
“Publishers have reacted or are reacting to changing trends in media consumption and are adjusting their business approach.
“Publishers are also looking at new ways to increase engagement with their readers and no format does it better than digital,” Fan said.
ABC chairman Karthi Palanisamy said it was incorrect to presume a weakening in newspaper circulation when the same publishers had grown their digital news audience.
“Circulation and reach of newspapers must be viewed within this often overlooked, but vital context.”
He noted that there had been an increase in interest among ABC board members to combine the print and digital replica numbers, and the board was still considering it.
Among the issues to be resolved was duplication in readership.
“Everyone is trying to find a yardstick for measurement, including audit bureaus in other countries. It’s good that the board is looking at what others are doing and is using that as a learning process for us.”
On the ABCi committee, which is looking at auditing traffic to websites and mobile apps, Karthi said the bureau hoped to announce data on digital non-replicas for standalone publications by the end of the first quarter next year.
“The committee is taking a lot of guidance from all over the world.
“We’ve been talking about doing this for a long time,” he said.
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