Utusan, BH, Star, NST circulations drop


Utusan has been very much in the news for its sensationalist and racially tinged reporting. Less well known is the fact that the paper’s circulation has been sliding over the last four years.

According to Audit Bureau of Circulation (figures for West Malaysia publications for the period ending 31 December 2009), Utusan Malaysia’s daily circulation has dropped 21 per cent from 213,445 in 2006 to 169,548 in 2009. The group revenue of Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd fell correspondingly from RM384m in 2006 to RM349m in 2009, according to Utusan’s Annual Report for 2009. This had an impact on its bottom line as well, as profit before tax plunged from RM21m to RM7m in the last four years. The firm’s performance was saved by sister publication Kosmo!’s steady rise in circulation from 100,798 in 2007 to 172,253 in 2009.

Berita Harian too fell from a circulation of 203,704 in 2006 to 154,868 in 2009 – a fall of 24 per cent. But the circulation of sister paper Harian Metro, like that of Kosmo!, jumped from 249,575 to 358,676 in the same period.

Mainstream English-language papers have not been spared the gloomy figures. The Star’s circulation has fallen from 310,008 in 2006 to 286,857 in 2009. Likewise, New Straits Times sales have slumped from 139,468 to 111,158 in the last four years.

Free newspaper theSun bucked the trend, its circulation soaring from 174,179 in 2006 to 300,587 in  2009.

Chinese-language newspapers generally did all right, Sin Chew‘s, China Press’ and Oriental Daily News’ circulations all rising over the same period. Only Guang Ming recorded a small drop in circulation.

The top selling daily newspapers are Sin Chew (382,000), followed by Harian Metro (359,000) and The Star (287,000). The best-selling weekend editions are Metro Ahad (406,000) and Mingguan Malaysia (370,000), along with Sin Chew.

All the above figures are based on ABC West Malaysia publications figures only. Figures for Sarawak and Sabah are reported separately.

From the recent trend, it appears that the future of blatantly pro-BN newspapers that are perceived to be sycophantic does not look encouraging as readers shift towards online news sources.

The only papers that seem to be coping well with this shift are the gossip or life-style tabloids, a free newspaper that is a bit more independent (theSun), a  business paper like The Edge (circulation of around 21,000-25,000), and the slightly more independent Chinese-language newspapers.

What do you think?

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Look at the number, it show that Malaysian actually thirst for information.

BN government work hard and lock it, together, it freeze up the media business economic potential. I bet Malaysia can easily support doubles of the current mainstream media number, which double the current media business job opportunities,incomes,economies.


I browsed utusan Malaysia today (10 Sept) and it confirmed my belief the sad news of the drop of Malaysia in World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (3rd year running, slipping two notches down to 26th spot out of 139 countries) was not reported at all.

I pity its readers, for they will never get to read about the sad truth.


Star is mistaken, most people whom I know buy the Star to check out the best deals that Tesco, Carrefour and Giant offer due to the rising cost of groceries, etc. In the process, they merely skimp the news section. Above all, Mr Netto, the real problem is they (appear to have) have lost (or) got rid of (many) good and capable journalists including editors for obious reasons. If PR forms the government, it should make it a point to bring them back, or at least hire them as Press Secretaries. Ask around and their names will pop up (females… Read more »


No need to read MSM as it carries “yesterday’s news” and the commentary is lop-sided.

If I read one, mostly for advertisement of good deals.


Why are people still buying these papers? A campaign should be started to get people go MSM paperless.


Paperless, a day a week for a start. Save Earth, Save Malaysia!


bagusle..bersedia pulak untuk tutup kedai,agaknya macammana rasanya..ready untuk cari kerja lain.


Utusan Malaysia nose-dived from one of the nation’s top circulation papers to a disreputable rag, falling from a height of a daily circulation of 350,000 to less than half the numbers – as Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures for the full year ended June 30, 2010 showed its circulation had dropped to 170,558 as compared to 181,346 the previous year.

In other words, fewer people are reading it now.
It is getting irrelevant.

Al Tugauw

Who wants to read propaganda which insults the intelligence of its readers? There is a limit to which people can accept pure bull spin. That limit has been reached a long time already but these newspapers are still in denial mode. They can try pushing their luck further but it’s not going to get any better and more people are going to get turned off. Why don’t they try the TRUTH for a change instead of trying to sell the public their twisted version of “reality”?


Q: Do anyone know what Harakah’s numbers are over the same period??


The more prices go up, the less money people have to buy newspapers. BN is caught in a vicious cycle.


Money mah!
Look at The Star, every year, big bonuses, big incentives.
But stupid business mentality and strategy just b’cos they think they are monopolistic in English print media.

They will have to close shop sooner! The better.
Let The Sun shine!!!


Yes Utusan, Star, NST & BH sales should drop.

After all who wants to read a politically motivated newspaper that publish (untruths or distortions) and one sided stories.


Advertisers don’t want to have to explain themselves Anil, and hence there is no ad money flowing into in-house(members only) Harakah, Rocket and Suara. Matter of fact, even vendors thread cautiously to decide whether to carry such publications – for fear of harassment from relevant agencies.

If anything, the fear of repercussion is always there as we live in a quasi police state – no !


Have you considered how well these newspapers’ websites are doing? If their readers have switched from print to online, the declining circulation of their print editions may not be the whole story.


For the last 10 years, the MSM has been losing credibility as a source of info.

But somehow they can’t get out of the rut and do some decent reporting. Najib’s call to trust the MSM is a reflection of this mentality and ties in with the MSM editors’ in missing this same point.

Take away government department subscription to Utusan, NST and Berita Harian, we’re probably looking at bare bones.

Jed Yoong

The end is near for MSM….Not really 4 Chinese media though, they are a bit more or much more independent…

Raja Gopal 2

What about Harakah, Suara Keadilan, Rocket circulations


I only read online news. Sometimes I pickup newspapers specifically to scoop up dog (poop) outside my gate.


I congratulate myself from staying off MSM … papers!
At last!, what a wonderful piece of news…

Warga Malaysia

Hi Anil,

I requested Nutgraph to compile the list of scandals wanton wasteages corruptions etc and make it a running total so we can have an easy reference to what had befall Malaysia. Perhaps a list of important issues?

Hopefully then Anil Netto’s blog will become a reference for others to quote and link to?

Yes? No? Please


Also suggesting a “count-up” of pending cases/investigations/NFAs and “whatever-happened-to”s.
Malaysians forget easily… but I want to remember:
1. Since when no action has been taken regarding facts surrounding Khir Toyo’s income and mansion,
2. Since when no further action taken on Lingam’s case after recommendations from Royal Commission
3. Since when Bala’s Statutory first came out and since when Baginda has left Msia.



Warga Malaysia

I just wish that those wastepapers’ circulations will drop to zero


Juicy news in the tabloid sells more than the … letters of Awang Selamat & Ridhuan Tee?


I’ve stopped buying all these papers. Even if I got hold of one, I just look at the ads.


Exactly the reason why we shouldn’t buy those lousy newspapers anymore — too many ads and more ads!…

It’s pretty bad with The Star, I believe. Almost every page carries an ad. Sometimes, those Giant Hypermart ads take up 3 full pages! …

I only go through this lousy paper when I can read for free.


Any idea how subscription news on the Web has been going over the same period? How has mkini done?


Drop In Revenue? You Ask For It Because Of: = no independent reporting = biased, paranoid coverage = half-truth and nothing but half-truth and possibly no truth = provocative, insulting, talking down to readers = arrogance to the needs of profitable advertisers and ad agencies (for lower ad rates) = unrealistic price in a realistic reader market of media choices = unfriendly treatment of ad agencies which rightly siphon ad budgets to friendly, cooperative and flexible alternative media = reality sucks for print media (better close shop) But the Sun is Shining Bright & Sunny! Want to know why? The… Read more »


The newspapers here have a free ride. Unlike other countries, where there are so many English dailies, here, in Malaysia, the advertisement profit pie has to be shared between just a handful of players.

For example, in the UK, population merely double the population of Malaysia, about 60 mil, advertisement revenue is shared between nearly 20 English dailies.

Here, population- 30 million but ALL the advertisement revenue is shared amongst just a handful of English dailes, or more precisely said, one or two English dailies.

But sad to say, circulation is dropping.


Not just print media. TV/Radio media mainly under Media Prima (TV3, TV9, 8TV, NTV7 etc).


Even near monopolistic, they are losing circulation!!!
The Law of Opposite Works For The Greedy & Liars.