‘Times’ are hard

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These must be tough times for the New Straits Times. Promoters on a roadshow in Penang over the weekend latched on to a novel idea to try and stem the paper’s flagging circulation.

A promoter plastered with newspaper stands motionless while his colleague pretends to read a giant cutout of the NST (with nothing inside)

The promoters above were spotted at lunch-time at the entrance to the Batu Lanchang market hawker centre. They said this was part of a roadshow and their next stop was Queensbay Mall.

According to audited circulation figures, daily sales of the New Straits Times had plunged from 139,468 (for the year ending June 2006) to 111,158 (in the six months ending December 2009).

In a sense, the promoters reflected reality in a way that they had not intended. One promoter was so plastered with newspapers like an Egyptian mummy, you wondered how he could see what was happening around him. The other was pretending to read the mock newspaper but the pages inside were devoid of content (blank).

Part of the NST’s problem surely must be the steady decline of print newspapers with the advent of the Internet. But political factors may also have played a part: sales had been hovering at around 136,000 until 2008, after which they dropped to 120,770 by June 2009 and then 111,158 by December 2009. (The New Sunday Times has higher sales of 131,518.) If you exclude the bulk sales (those copies sold at reduced rates or even distributed free), then the real sales of NST are just over 82,000 copies (and even then, how much of this is ‘forced sales’ to GLCs and government departments?)!

Out of the 111,158 in circulation, only 5,838 copies are sold in Penang compared to 37,102 copies in Penang for theSun and 32,972 for The Star.

This was what the NSTP’s Annual Report for 2009 had to say:

The New Straits Times saw a shift in its profile to younger readers, with a 7% gain in the 30 years and below age group (ACN Media Index). During the year, a major exercise was completed to identify how to improve its marketing strategy, to attract younger, affluent consumers with a high propensity to spend. The resulting marketing strategy, to be rolled out in 2010, will in part leverage on the synergy of being part of Malaysia’s largest media conglomerate, Media Prima Berhad, with its television and radio broadcast platforms as well as outdoor media.

The New Straits Times comes under the Media Prima media conglomerate, which is closely linked to Umno. The last Annual Report could well be the last for NSTP as Media Prima moves to completely take over the company and delist it from the stock market, thus sparing it the blushes.

All I can say is that as long as the NST’s political coverage remains lopsided and the real issues are not analysed critically, there appears little hope that the paper can arrest the declining trend, no matter how much marketing and promotion is done. People are not stupid.

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Rejab Relau

NST has to resort to ‘doctoring pictures’ to sll its paper?

http://uppercaise.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/new-shameless-times-explains/

NST = Newly Shameless Times?

Ghafi

Malaysia was ranked 143 out of 196 countries surveyed worldwide in the latest media freedom study, which shows it is not free.Together with Angola and Madagascar, it earned a score of 64 out of 100, which is considered not free (In the Freedom of the Press Index, the lower the evaluation score the freer the country).

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/malaysia-ranks-143-in-global-press-freedom-index/

This is not surprising as the local newspapers are mouthpieces of BN.

Fardi

Anil

What’s the latest ratings in terms of readership for the local MSM?

Gempak

Utusan Malaysia’s daily staple of lies and falsehoods to stoke communal poison and hatred, sowing distrust and national disunity, is the greatest disservice to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia slogan and nation-building. Mingguan Malaysia today is again at its anti-national worst with its daily diet of lies and falsehoods to poison the political system and undermine the nation-building process when it made the completely wild and baseless charge in insinuating in its editorial that DAP is working towards the goal of making Malaysia a republic and the abolition of the system of Malay rulers. In its Sunday editorial… Read more »

Kamsari

Rakyat tidak pernah lupa sejarah, siapa yang menentang Sultan dan Raja-Raja Melayu.

http://chegubard.blogspot.com/2011/01/siapa-yang-hina-raja-melayu.html

Hamim

Utusan created Kosmo to sell sleazy & sensational news in order to fund its existence.

Yassin

I tried to stay neutral since your article was posted. I read NST the last one month and came to a conclusion that it is full of BN propaganda and attack on the opposition. NST sugar-coat issues to mislead the rakyat. Thanks to Anil and the readers, I will now save my RM1.20 daily and stop buying NST.

Jian

What a promotional gem ! Hits it right on the head. The juxtaposition of the mummy with the blank mock-up suggests that a newspaper without substance should best be consigned to the graveyard.

Richie Hee

For local news commentary, just read The Sun’s columns by Nadeswaran and Terence Frenandez.

Anything by NST is purely BN propaganda to syiok sendiri.

Ong Eu Soon

How about the same type of promotion for BN?

LBJ

Is NST telling us to use its product as material for our dress instead of reading it? I must say NST is very innovative, expanding the use its product for other purpose. 🙂

wira

NST should look into the novel idea of paying readers to read their paper.
Please convey this message to them that their paper is really that bad.

nkkhoo

I think NST’s English language standard is better than The Star.

Do you believe The Star MOE’s (Mind Our Language) editor suggested “economy rice” as a correct English for “经济饭”?

Sean

Was it the same expert who did the translation for the TBH “suicide note”?

http://translate.google.com/#zh-CN|en|%E7%BB%8F%E6%B5%8E%E9%A5%AD

(edit – looks like your comment parser needs some work!)

nkkhoo

I hv tried Google translator from English to Chinesh and vice versa.

Both translations are incorrect.

economy rice -> 经济饭
经济饭 -> economic rice

The correct one should be economical rice.

Richie Hee

饭 means meal in this context.

‘Economical meal’ would be a more appropriate translation.

nkkhoo

Would you prefer to say “鸡饭” as chicken rice or chicken meal? 🙂

Richie Hee

For a poor and retired person like me, when I order and eat the 经济饭 (as the name suggest), it has assorted dish (which I can choose from a great variety of dishes) to make it a complete meal (or at least a more balanced meal for a poor person). I could select the dish I want and add more if my economic situation allows me to. 鸡饭 has only chicken and rice (discounting the little cucumber), so not really a complete meal although the price is fixed. It is an indulgence for thsoe you could afford get other nutrients… Read more »

nkkhoo

Price hike is going to be more severe under the Barang Naik rationalization exercise.

BN’s rich politicians know nothing about the pains of price hike to retiree and 40% low income citizens.

Are you entitled for RM300 per month grant for retiree?

Winnie

You got my sympathy.

You can exercise your vote to show your displeasure to Barang Naik.

Bigjoe

NST death is guaranteed already.

Qabil

… Unless NST is bold enough like Berita Harian Sinapore to proclaim that NEP has made (some) malaysian malays sufer the syndrome of 2M i.e. malas & manja.

LYM

I think all regular newspaper readers’ opinions on the various reasons for NST’s serious decline in circulation are correct, in varying degrees. I am only amused that their mgt seems to be “in the dark”. Did they think that many are unaware of the existence of the NST? Or, rather that the NST is now a completely revamped newspaper? Gimmicky promotions are okay for tv; we just flip channels. But in the newspaper biz, the newspaper is akin to a particular tv programme series/genre, and not a whole channel. If for example, we think the “Biggest Loser’ (NST) is the… Read more »

Andrew

One sure way NSTP can increase sales.

PRINT IT IN ROLLS TO BE RECYCLED AS TOILET PAPER. ANYWAY …. IS PRINTED ON IT!

ary

…U GUYS ARE A BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES..EVEN NEWSPAPER ALSO THERE’S A NEED TO MENTION BN.MCA.MIC..STOP THIS .BULL… TALKING…TELL PAKATAN WHAT PLAN THEY HAVE BCOZ EVEV AFTER FEW YEARS THEY ARE STIL NOT DOING ANYTHING.,.BREAD N BUTTER ISSUE PLEASEEEEE.,ENOUGH OF THIS RACE ISSUES.AS PAKATAN SUPPORTER I FEEL THAT IS THE ONLY ISSUES BEING SAID…DONT MAKE ME AND OTHERS CHANGE OUR MIND ABT PAKATAN..WAKE UP YOUR IDEA,

Ahmad Syafiq

Chill la bro, I also PR supporter still read The Star and sometimes NST. ;P

dragonfly

NSTP is even not fit to “tapau” my ….

casper

Clarifiaction helpful and duly noted Anil. I don’t own Media Prima shares or anything UMNO related, hence no idea of P/L numbers but really amaze at the figures generated by Harian Metro. Clear to me, Harian Metro garners a big share of ad dollars, potential for some enterprising publisher, perhaps ! Happy to note many posts here wouldn’t touch NSTP, even if given for free. I guess, why pollute our minds yeah ! Personally, I would go further ie my personal boycott of McD’s, KFC, Pizza Hut – don’t own any shares of their parent company, won’t shop at anything… Read more »

Jonathan

Toilet paper…

Andrew I

And once upon a time, it was exclusively someone’s toilet paper. Of course, we shan’t be mentioning any names…

Gerakan K

Of course chinese here will mostly read China Press because there is China word there.

I’m sure that if Times changing to China Times, its sales will be skyrocketed. Or even better with China Rocket Times.

nkkhoo

Racist, Nanyang Press is a Chinese tabloid.

Why this Chinese papers is suffering same fate as NST? Because the content is suck with a bunch of lopsided Pro-MCA news.

moo_t

LOL. nkkhoo, you should tell Gerakan K, Nanyang have been annihilated by Chinese and “downgraded” to “business tabloid” by its sinchew boss THK.

nkkhoo

No point to explain further, such racist sure cannot differentiate Nanyang and Kwong Wah.

tunglang

Hello Gerakan K.
The only occasion Chinese proudly flip the Nanyang paper is for wrapping Char Bee Hoon at hawker stalls. The other more prominent once-in-a-year time is during Cheng Beng for laying of foods at ancestors’ graves! On that occasion the readership will definitely spike (good for Nanyang) but mostly from the ghosts and Tua Pek Kong. Get it?

nkkhoo

That is insulting our ancestors by using Nanyang old papers as food mat.

tunglang

That is the common thing to do if you care to look around the next Cheng Beng. Chinese are practical people who would not splash on something as insignificant as a mat. If newsprint can do the job, and be disposed off after the offering, the better. Unless Nanyang is a holy newsprint to be worship for its skewed perceptions.

nkkhoo

No one in Johor (at least in my kampung) used old papers as food mat during offerings. The reason is almost all graveyards are housed with a concrete or stone altars.

Yang

This idiot & moron Gerakan K who wannabe like his UMNO & Najib is now talking racial. Thats why I have always said he is a wannabe and will always be one who betrayed not only himself but I believe all of us knows who he has betrayed.

Bax

Hello Anil.

According to the author below who I believe is an insider wt the media, NSTs actual sales are far lower than 111k.

http://uppercaise.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/newspapers-lose-sales/

26% of NST circulation are from bulk sales.. that means to groups that give free distribution.. like schools, hotels, etc.

Actual sales from newstands, bookshops, 7-11.. will be 82k

Plain Truth

If we strip out the sales to the ” captive ” customers like the hotels, Malaysian Airlines, libraries and the government offices, the real sales to the public must be shockingly low.

I for one, will not be bothered to read it even if it is given to me free.

Andy

I won’t waste time to read even given Free!! Why you want to read UMNO newspaper? Only UMNO members and organisations are interested to read.

frags

Certainly very slow of them to evolve with the online media. Look at CNN or BBC and what they do online. Compare our Star and NST.

amoker

Great one Anil. Indeed , NST is a shame to its heritage. Courtesy of UMNO

Hamim

NST is basically an Umno newsletter.
So why waste your RM1.20 to read propaganda?