Singapore, 7 April 2006 – The Tamil and Malay newspapers of Singapore Press Holdings are enjoying healthy circulation growth, with Tamil Murasu hitting all-time highs and Berita Harian making inroads into schools and madrasahs.
Latest figures for March show that the Tamil paper´s circulation soared by nearly 19 per cent, while its sister newspaper, Berita Harian, saw its circulation rise by 7 per cent over the same month last year.
Sales of both the profitable newspapers were boosted by a combination of strong editorial content and various initiatives to encourage readership.
Coverage of the Tamil Nadu elections, coupled with breaking news on the discovery of the body of missing toddler Nonoi, saw readers snapping up over 19,000 copies of the March 5th issue of Tamil Murasu Sunday, its highest circulation figure ever.
The jump is in line with the overall strong uptrend of the Sunday newspaper with a 15 per cent rise in March to a new average high of 18,600.
The weekday Tamil Murasu enjoyed even stronger growth, with its average daily circulation in March rising by 18.5 per cent to an all-time high of 10,700 copies.
Mr S Chandra Das, chairman of the Tamil Murasu board, said: “The team has worked hard to make Tamil Murasu relevant to the Tamil-speaking Indian community. We will keep improving our paper to make it a thriving member of SPH´s stable of newspapers.”
Ms M Nirmala, editor of the Tamil daily added: “I´m delighted that our efforts have been so well received by our readers. This will spur us to make this an on-going process.”
The circulation of sister SPH publication, Berita Harian, also grew, with average circulation increasing 6.5 per cent in March over the same period last year. This translates to an average of 60,700 copies against the 57,000 sold last March.
Berita Minggu, the Sunday edition, did well too, with circulation notching a 7.7 per cent rise to just below 70,000 copies, from 65,000 in March last year.
Editor Mohd Guntor Sadali said that, apart from overall improvements in editorial content, the growth came from several initiatives to reach younger readers, like the launch of its media club, Kelab Obor.
“Obor isn´t just about regular activities like camps and workshops, but a way to give students a voice in the community through our newspaper,´´ said Mr Guntor. “We devote space regularly to our younger readers, for them to give feedback, comments and to contribute stories. The response has been very encouraging.”
Another achievement is that madrasahs, or religious schools, have started subscribing to Berita Harian.
“Berita Harian makes the classroom learning more varied and fun," said Madam Kheftiah Moorin, who teaches Malay at the Madrasah Aljunid Al-Islamiah.
“We can generate discussions on issues and the students can have a wider view and perspectives on issues which would benefit them in their holistic education.
Ms Nur Wahidah Abdul Wahid, a secondary four student at the same madrasah said: "We use the reports in BH for our class discussions on current affairs especially community issues. The interactive columns, in the Obor pages especially, make for lively class discussions as it discusses teenage issues which are close to our hearts.“
Editor Mohd Guntor said he was especially delighted with the response from the madrasahs.
“It´s a very significant development, as they prepare for compulsory education. This will help accelerate the process to bring our madrasah students into the mainstream life of Singapore,” he said.
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Singapore Press Holdings
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About Singapore Press Holdings
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading media company in Singapore, in the print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and more than 80 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.8 million individuals, or 88 per cent of the people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers, which enjoy over 100 million pageviews from 6 million unique visitors every month.
SPH also owns a 20% stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40% stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes free sheet Today. SPH has a 70% stake in UnionWorks, which operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English. In addition, SPH holds an 80% stake in SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore´s largest LED network media company, and a 35% stake in TOM Outdoor Media Group, a leading outdoor advertising company in China.