Print media in Malaysia is very similar to other countries. Referring mostly to newspapers and dailies, there are various forms and types for advertisers to choose from. There has been a steady rise of newspapers between 2010 and 2015 and this has changed the advertising landscape tremendously.

How are newspapers doing?

The total number of dailies in 2010 was 34. This has since grown to 39 by 2015. This is further divided into national and regional versions while there has been an increasing popularity of free dailies like theSun as well.

Circulation remains healthy

When it comes to circulation, there was a total of about 2.7 million copies and this has been very much the average until 2014. In 2015, the number has grown to about 3.2 million copies. In terms of advertising revenue, newspapers have garnered an average of about RM380 million each year in that period.
2011 saw the peak of newspaper circulation when it was at its highest between 2006 and 2015. In 2011, about 4.7 million copies were circulation and it was slightly lower in the 5 years before that but never below 4.5 million. In 2012, it suffered a huge drop that went below 3.7 million before recovering slightly in 2015.

Major players in print media

There are generally 4 languages in newspapers namely:

  1. English Language
  2. Bahasa Malaysia
  3. Chinese
  4. Tamil

Among the four, the highest readership recorded is in the Chinese language papers. Between 2012 and 2015, Sin Chew Daily has been the market leader with circulation of around 380,000 daily.

In the English Language segment meanwhile, theSun is the highest circulated media. It is a free daily which distributes slightly more than 300,000 copies. The Star meanwhile is close by with an average of about 280,000 while New Straits Times only recorded a meagre 90,000 in 2012. It has since dropped significantly to only about 50,000 in 2015.

For Bahasa Malaysia papers, the highest readership recorded is quite different between the years. In 2012, Metro Ahad had the highest readership with more than 400,000 copies. This would change in 2013 when Mingguan Malaysia took the lead with about 370,000 copies daily and continue to dominate the market for the next 2 years.

Digital circulation

Most newspaper titles have since moved on to offer digital platforms in order to stay competitive. Although the content are similar, only very strong titles like The Star has been doing well over in this segment. With an average of about 370,000, about 90,000 of these are attributed by the digital version of The Star. Meanwhile, The Edge Financial Daily has been very successful on the digital front. Its circulation is about 35,000 of which more than 30,000 are accessed via the digital platform.

This is a far cry for other titles like Harian Metro. It has about 230,000 copies circulated of which only 1,000 of them are accessed digitally. China Press circulates about 200,000 copies but less than 2,000 of them are through digital platforms.