The last AMPS topline results came to light this week, marking the end of an era for Saarf and the advertising, media and marketing industries.
The South African Audience Research Foundation launched the All Media and Products Survey in 1975, and has, until now, provided “media research currency that formed the backbone of the print industry, as well as data on all media consumption and audience demographics, access to services, information on over a thousand brands and products, and the much-relied-upon audience segmentation tool, the LSM or Living Standards Measure”.
Four decades and hundreds of thousands of face-to-face interviews later and the results of the final AMPS are out.
And it’s not great news for South Africa’s newspaper businesses. Print is in decline, showing a “statistically significant” drop in newspaper readership, losing 489 000 over AMPS June 2015 “mostly from the newspaper side, since magazines held their own over the previous period”, Saarf reported. These figures, Saarf said, would serve the newspaper industry for the next year to 18 months until the newly formed Publisher Research Council (PRC) launches a replacement currency.
Print media – newspapers
As The Media Online reported last week, an investigation is underway into various Western Cape titles, and national papers with a large footprint in the province. Readership in Western Cape declined from 74.8% to 69.5%. Limpopo also showed a drop from 45.9% to 38.2%.
The PRC’s Gordon Muller said the research departments of Independent Media and Media24 had uncovered “inconsistencies” in Western Cape readership figures and that they have been “working closely with the researchers at the Publisher Research Council (PRC) and Nielsen to understand the reasons for these anomalies”.
Total print readership was not able to withstand the effects of the newspaper sector’s readership losses. While magazine readership remained stable, the decline of newspapers in general, driven by losses in the daily sector, contributed to the medium’s downward movement.
Print as a whole declined over the previous AMPS release, with average-issue readership down from 62.3% in the June 2015 release to 61.0% currently.
Saarf said total print readership was “not able to withstand the effects of the newspaper sector’s readership losses. While magazine readership remained stable, the decline of newspapers in general, driven by losses in the daily sector, contributed to the medium’s downward movement”.
Average-issue readership was reduced from 62.3% in the June 2015 release to 61.0% currently.
But the number of people reading news online or on cellphones has increased, up from 9.0% in AMPS Dec 2014 to 11.7% now. In real terms, that’s 16 664-million (43.6%) adults aged 15+ reading newspapers, down from 44.9% in AMPS Jun 2015.
“This decline was seen especially in the Western Cape (and Cape Town in particular) and Mpumalanga, with losses in both urban and rural areas. There were also fewer female readers, as well as fewer 25-34 year olds and readers in LSM 5-10,” Saarf reported.
Print media – magazines
There’s been little statistically significant movement in the consumer magazine sector, Saarf reported, as it had maintained its total readership figure. Readership of magazines is currently stable at 45.4%, with 17 360-million readers.
All but four titles have maintained the readership levels set in the previous AMPS release. These included Drum, which lost readers in Limpopo and True Love, which lost 253 000 readers over AMPS Jun 2015. Its current readership of 1 958-million represented 5.1% of the adult (15+) population, down from 5.8% previously. This decline was fuelled in the main by losses of readers in large urban areas and female readers, Saarf said.
Television viewership in total remains stable at 91.8%, Saarf reported. This was “despite the decline in weekly viewership of three terrestrial TV channels, the total community TV sector, and a general loss of weekly viewers in the Western Cape”.
DStv is now posting stable weekly figures as opposed to its previous “constant rise”. Audience figures are stable at 39.9% and include terrestrial and satellite viewing.
An interesting new fact shows that in terms of how people access television, only a tiny percentage consume this medium online or over their cellphones: just 1.4%.
e.tv’s weekly viewing declined from 67.0% to 65.1%, “driven largely by declines in large-urban audiences, particularly in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Declines were seen across both males and females, among 35+ readers, and in LSM 5+.
SABC 1’s weekly audience declined over the previous release: from 76.9% to 75.4%. Geographically, viewing was down in large urban areas and the Western Cape. In addition, weekly viewing was down for males, age 50+, and LSM 5+.
SABC 2 was down on AMPS Jun 2015, with its weekly audience declining from 72.1% to 70.4%, driven by losses in large urban areas, the Western Cape and Limpopo, female audiences, the 50+ age group, and
Interestingly, the total Openview HD weekly audience rose over the previous survey. Audience numbers are now 195 000, or 0.5%, up from 0.2% previously. These gains came from all community sizes, from the Western Cape and North West, from both genders, and from 50+ and LSM 5-7.
Weekly audience levels for total community TV declined from 10.4% to 9.4%, due in part to losses in large urban areas, in female viewership, and in LSM 5-7.
SABC 3’s weekly audience remained stable at 55.0%, despite declines in the Western Cape and in the LSM 8-10 demographic and pay-TV service Starsat’s total weekly audience was stable at 0.6%.
Radio is holding steady, Saarf reported, maintaining its audience levels over the previous AMPS release at 91.5% with 35 018-million listeners aged 15+. Commercial radio reached 88.6% of adults or 33 911-million listeners, while community radio as a whole reached 25.3% of adults (9 685-million).
“In terms of demographics, radio in total, as well as commercial radio, showed an upward shift in KwaZulu-Natal, while community radio in total lost listeners in LSM 5-7,” it reported.
Unlike TV, listening to radio over cellphones continued to trend up. “Currently 41.7% of people listen on their phones, while 4.5% listen online via website or other app, and 0.2% listen on DStv’s audio channels,” Saarf said.
The following radio stations showed changes to their audience profiles only:
- Highveld Stereo lost listeners in LSM 1-4 across the week.
- Capricorn FM lost weekly listeners in small-urban and rural areas and in the North West.
- East Coast Radio saw declines in its weekly Eastern Cape audience.
- Kfm (94.5 Kfm) has reduced weekly listenership in large urban areas and Gauteng.
- Lesedi FM gained LSM 8-10 listeners across the week.
- Ligwalagwala FM lost listeners in Limpopo (past 7 days).
- Radio 2000 has more listeners in the Western Cape than it did in the previous release. It also has more listeners aged 35-49, and more LSM 8-10 listeners (past 7 days).
- RSG lost listeners in the Western Cape across the week.
- Smile 90.4 FM grew its large urban and LSM 8-10 audience (past 7 days).
- Thobela FM has reduced levels of listeners in Mpumalanga (past 7 days).
- Trufm grew its weekly audience in the Western Cape.
- Ukhozi FM’s weekly Gauteng audience has declined.
- Vuma 103 FM lost audience in KwaZulu-Natal across the week.
Out of home
Saarf research has found the exposure levels of three out of home formats showed statistically significant changes over the previous AMPS release. These are bus shelters, which upped their exposure from 26.9% to 28.2%. Advertising on litter bins was down from 41.5% to 40.2% as was street pole advertising, down from 62.4% to 60.8.
The remaining out-of-home formats were stable, Saarf reported.
Digital and cellphones
Cellphone access is 88.9% in total. At 96.1%, LSM 8-10 has the highest access to cellphones, with LSM 5-7 at 89.5%, and LSM 1-4 at 79.7, Saarf found.
“Just over half of all adults have smartphones (51.1%), use of which has risen significantly in the upper LSMs. Currently, 80.6% of adults in LSM 8-10 use a smartphone, up from 77.8% previously, while 49.7% of LSM 5-7 use smartphones, followed by 21.8% of those in LSM 1-4,” it reported.
Second is Samsung at 21.3%, showing significant growth over the previous survey, while in third position is Blackberry at 9.7%, following a significant decline.
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