Newspaper and magazine readership is stable but how it’s evolving is more interesting
- WHAT IT MEANS
- INTERNET HAS GAINED GROUND — EXCEPT IN MPUMALANGA
- 90% OF ADULTS LISTEN TO RADIO
The media industry has managed to hold its own in a challenging economic environment, according to the latest All Media & Products Survey (Amps) released by the SA Audience Research Foundation. The environment shows overall stability, with no significant audience changes at a macro level.
But media strategist and planner Gordon Muller questions the word “stable” in a fluid and complex environment where consumers are simultaneously engaging with media across numerous platforms.
Muller says the Amps numbers give marketers a useful rear-view mirror snapshot of the environment but little idea of how people’s media habits are evolving.
Gordon Muller – Shift from general to specific titles should be analysed
He warns that the information gathered does not necessarily reflect the reality of the landscape and that sector-specific research needs to be overlaid against Amps research.
The latest figures cover fieldwork done nationally between January and December 2014. Average-issue readership of print has remained stable but there has been a significant decline in print reading in large urban areas. In the newspaper category the decline of readership, mostly in the weekly market, has been halted, though a negative trend persists. Daily newspapers remain stable with just over 26% of adults reading a daily title. In the weekly newspaper sector, three publications have grown readership significantly: the Saturday Citizen, Son op Sondag, and the Weekend Argus (Sunday edition). Together they grew their reader bases by 174000. However, readership in this category as a whole remained stable at 30% of adults. Magazines have maintained their equilibrium.
The bigger debate, says Muller, is how many more people are now reading mobile phones and tablets.
Three niche titles — Grazia, Habitat, and SA Hunter/Jagter have grown their audiences. Of more significance, he says, would be to see how consumers are moving from general interest titles to content-specific titles.
Just over 92% of the adult population watches television each week. DStv has increased its weekly audience and e.tv has also shown a significant rise. Muller says of more interest is how the free-to-air channels (SABC and e.tv) have helped DStv’s audience growth.
Almost 90% of adults listen to commercial radio each week, and 25,6% listen to community radio. Muller does not believe the full value of community radio has been unlocked due to poor listenership measurement data. More people are listening to radio via cellphones.
The Internet has gained ground across all age groups and provinces except Mpumalanga. In the out-of-home category, trailer ads and street-pole advertising has improved while bus-related advertising has dropped.