Sad Times. Synovate's latest readership stat is bad news for Kalimullah Hassan: his New Straits Times' readership is now nearly ONE MILLION less than rivals The Star. And theSun is rising.
To add to NST's woes, The Malay Mail, which was the fastest growing English-language daily in 2003, a year before Kalimullah was sent to NSTP as its GEIC, is now the least-read of all dailies in all languages, according to Synovate.
Synovate, yes. AC Nielsen, no.
Two years ago, there was no Synovate. The gap between NST and The Star was only about 600,000, according to AC Nielsen. But Kalimullah refused to believe it: he had shrunk the NST's size, gave away many luxury cars to readers, and brought in his foreign-trained journalist friends to replace the "old" editors. He accused AC Nielsen of being bias in their readership surveys and, with the help of theSun, started a campaign against AC Nielsen. He went to the extent of soliciting the PM 's support to fight his battle with AC Nielsen and The Star. The PM was "bemused", wrote The Star, when NST asked him to comment on the NST-AC Nielsen "dispute". Kalimullah then brought in Synovate to prove he was right.
The first time around, Synovate gave NST a readership of 530,000 (from the 300,000-plus AC Nielsen gave it) and around 1.1 million for The Star.
But last week's numbers show that NST is continuing to lose readership while The Star keeps pulling away. Will Kalimullah, now the Editorial Adviser and Deputy Chairman of NSTP, seek a third opinion to prove Synovate and AC Nielsen wrong? Will he turn to the PM for help again this time around?