In a revolutionary development for Israel’s newspaper industry, the free daily Israel Hayom has equaled and possibly surpassed longtime dominant Yediot Aharonot in readership, according a survey published Wednesday.

The biannual TGI survey, which measures newspaper readership as well as other consumer- and media-oriented topics, found that both papers now share roughly 35 percent of the country’s daily readership, with Israel Hayom even showing a slight advantage of 0.3% that falls within the margin of error.

According to the survey, Israel Hayom increased its share of the country’s total readership by roughly 10% since the previous poll, which was published in December; Yediot gained only 1%.

Two other dailies also showed an increase in total readership, with economic newspaper Kalkalist climbing from 4.3% to 4.6% of total readership and the free Israel Post going from 7.5% to 7.9%.

The daily newspapers that have lost readership numbers over the past six months are Haaretz, which dropped from 6.6% to 6.4%; Maariv, which went from 13.6% to 12.5%; and Globes, which dropped from 3.4% to 2.5%.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, TGI Research CEO Eitan Kasif said the increase in Israel Hayom’s readership influenced Israeli newspaper consumption patterns in general.

“After a period of stagnation in readership in 2009, we can once again point to a rise in daily newspaper reading.

Overall readership numbers grew in the past six months from 59.7% to 62.8%,” said Kasif.

When asked whether the fact that some of the newspapers were given out for free affected the findings, Kasif explained that since the survey tested readership and not circulation, the price was insignificant.

“The number of papers sold or handed out is not all that important, because we know that many more people read the paper than pick it up or have it delivered. The point of purchase is only relevant to the first set of eyes that read it, but after one person is done with it, the newspaper is often transferred to other people who read it secondhand,” said Kasif.

“We ask people what they read, not what they buy,” he went on. “They can pick it up on the train, from their husband’s or wife’s breakfast table, in a coffee shop or at the office. They only report on what they choose to read.”

When asked why The Jerusalem Post was not measured in the TGI survey, Kasif said that while in the past it had been included, it had been taken out in recent years because it was constantly underrepresented.

“There is an inherent bias in the survey against anyone who publishes in a foreign language, since the people who participate in it are screened for Hebrew literacy. People who read foreign-language papers would likely have difficulty completing the questionnaire, and therefore we cannot provide an accurate figure about their preferences.”

According to Kasif, daily newspaper readership is only one out of thousands of topics the TGI survey investigates.

“We send a booklet with hundreds of questions to 10,000 people every year.


Each wave of the survey relates to the previous six months and is answered by a representative sample of 4,000 Jewish adults,” he said.

When it comes to online news sites, Walla was ranked as the most read site, with 37.8% of respondents saying they visited it at least once a week. Yediot’s Ynet came in second with 32.4%, and Channel 2’s Mako came in third with 13%, followed by Channel 10’s Nana (11.4%), Maariv’s NRG (8.9%), and Haaretz (5.8%).

Internet use in total grew from 78.5% of the population in the previous study to 80% in this one. The average Israeli spends 7.25 hours a week surfing the Web, 3.5 hours reading newspapers and more than 10 hours listening to the radio.

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