Magazine readership looking up

12 Oct,2011

By A Correspondent

Magazines have been witnessing a bit of rough weather of late. It is not an Indian phenomenon but is being witnessed worldwide. However, this IRS Q2, 2011 shows an increase in readership of both Hindi and English magazines as compared to Q1, 2011. Here is a quick look at AIR for the same:

Readership in this duration has increased for Kannada and Telugu publications also. For Assamese, Gujarati and Marathi it has gone down – while for other languages the response is mixed.

Keeping the focus on English and Hindi magazines for the purpose of this article, is it safe to assume that this IRS marks the revival of magazines? Says Anita Nayyar, CEO – Havas Media, India & South Asia, “This IRS certainly indicates better health for magazines but not necessarily revival.”

Rajni Menon, Associate Vice President, Carat Media India, too believes that it is not really the revival of magazines and mentions two reasons for marginal upward trend for the magazines. She said, “The Week and Business World have been actively working towards increasing readership and it has had an impact in the market. Secondly, new magazines which were not captured in IRS earlier, eg 2010 Q2 IRS did not cover the following magazines – Outlook Profit, Economist, People, Life Positive. The biggies like India Today, Outlook have seen only marginal shifts only.”

However the experts believe that there is definite scope of growth in niche and special interest publications, which have shown an upward trend. Ms Nayyar said, “Niche magazines are doing better than mass magazines.” Ms Menon endorsed this, “There has been growth in numbers for niche magazines : India Today Travel Plus, Good Housekeeping, Femina WTW, so that could show an indicative trend along with the fact that one does see more new magazines on the stands every few months. Travel, Women, Lifestyle. “

However, a major issue faced by media planners and buyers is that a number of niche magazines are not tracked in IRS. As per Ms Menon, “We still can’t make a definite decision on magazines because there are so many in the market which are not covered by IRS. Mainline magazines like Open and Tehelka are yet to be covered, so seeing new niche magazine get covered is a long shot.

Ms Nayyar too stated that niche and special interest publications are set to grow, but most niche magazines are not tracked.


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