As in the past, the latest Ipsos Media Atlas figures on local print media shows mixed performances across publication types, but magazines appear to have gained a small lead this time.
On the newspaper front, free dailies continue to do better than their paid counterparts, with Sing Tao Group's Headline Daily maintaining its wide lead by registering reader numbers of 1.11 million during the survey period.
Such a performance can be viewed as outstanding when sharp increases in paper cost restricted circulation volume.
The good news is that after rising for a year there was an indication that paper cost had peaked by the end of 2018.
Although people can find information in plenty of places these days, market demand for free newspapers remains keen. And if paper costs can come down more significantly it will be positive development for both operators and readers.
Four magazines under the Sing Tao banner saw a readership rise as the entire magazine segment rebound. This appears to be the result of stronger publications capturing some new readers after weaker ones exited the market.
The group magazines that have registered readership growth are Property Browser and East Week, which are sold separately, free publication Job Market and Caz Buyer.
Three of the four magazines are special interest ones, and their performances reflect their related markets. Among them, Job Market's readership reached over 310,000, which exceeded that of many general interest publications.
In recent years, Job Market has expanded its content scope to human resources and training - a positioning that has helped to sustain readership growth as local jobless rates fall, with more jobs on the market than job seekers.
EastWeek, meanwhile, is the most well-known one among the four. The magazine is the only local magazine with a mixed current affairs and entertainment focus. Also, after years of cultivation, its Macau edition should be the most popular news magazine there and is very influential.
The encouraging post-Christmas figures should be cause for celebration for the magazine's publisher and editor in chief Kwan Wai-ling.
is publisher of Sing Tao Daily