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Press statement on Nielsen Media Research findings

SINGAPORE, 14 OCT 2005 – In response to media queries on the latest media survey conducted by Nielsen Media Research, Singapore Press Holdings has issued the following statement :

SPH is pleased to note that the results have reaffirmed the extensive reach and influence of our newspapers. We are especially glad that The Straits Times continues to be the most widely read newspaper in Singapore, reaching over 1.3 million readers each day. The slight statistical drop in its readership of one percentage point is not unexpected in light of the fact that the cover price of The Straits Times rose by 33 per cent last year to cover newsprint costs.

Every newspaper in the world that raises its cover price will lose some readers, and this is borne out by the performance of The Business Times, which held its cover price steady and saw its circulation rise 6.7 per cent. SPH´s latest surveys show that circulation of The Straits Times increased in September 2005 by 1.5 per cent to 379,142 over the same month last year.

In respect of The New Paper, as Nielsen Media Research correctly points out, many people read The New Paper for its comprehensive sports coverage. This was reflected in the paper´s high readership figures last year when the Euro 2004 football championship was held. SPH´s own research is consistent with Nielsen Media Research´s findings that the lack of a similar huge scale event this year, led to a slight drop in readership for The New Paper. In addition, The New Paper also raised its cover price, which contributed to a slight but expected drop in readership.

Mr Cheong Yip Seng, the Editor-in-Chief of the English and Malay Newspaper Division, said The New Paper, like The Straits Times, is recovering quickly its lost sales, thanks to on-going editorial improvements that have drawn back readers. Last month, the paper´s circulation rose 2.5 per cent to over 111,000 compared to the same period last year.

Mr Cheong added it made no sense comparing paid newspapers with freesheets like Today.

“It´s like comparing apples with oranges. Paid newspapers subject themselves every day to the verdict of the marketplace. Readers of The New Paper, for example, pay 70 cents for the paper. It would be interesting if a freesheet is similarly market-tested.””

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Co. Regn. No: 198402868E

For more information, please contact:

Arnold Gay
Corporate Relations
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: 63191216
Fax: 63198150

About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
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 about 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 and magazines, which together enjoy over 300 million pageviews a 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 newspaper Today. SPH operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media, and owns an 80% stake in SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore´s largest LED network media company.