Jaldi 5 with Suresh Nimbalkar: Print is not declining

04 Oct,2012

The findings of Quarter 2 of the Indian Readership Survey for the year 2012 published by the Media Research Users Council saw alarm bells ringing as there was a decline seen in print readership. Although we haven’t yet seen doomsayers out on the streets, the numbers did worry print evangelists. We asked Suresh Nimbalkar, Senior Vice President, Hansa Research (which conducted the IRS research) to comment on what lies beneath the numbers:

 

01 What do you infer from the continuing decline in readership (IRS) numbers that the print players have been witnessing quarter-over-quarter?

Let’s split this question into a) Changes in print reach and b) Changes in leading publications.

 

a) The print reach has been continuously going up in absolute terms. If you look at the past 3 quarters, the numbers are 350347, 352115 & 352004. Thus, there is no statistical decline in reach.

 

b) If you look at the top 10 publications, 3 publications have shown a growth in numbers. What the charts may not tell you is that some of the publications which seem to have shown decline in 2012 Q2 v/s Q1 have shown good growth in past two years. There are publishers who have launched new publications and have ensured overall growth.

 

Hence the print market is not declining. We always advise people not to look at quarter-on-quarter changes but look at the long-term trend to arrive at a conclusion.

 

02 Ideally, few publications should gain in readership numbers at the expense of other publications where loyalty is lost on account of readers migrating to newer titles. But that is not the case here as most titles have shown a decline. What could be the possible factors for the equilibrium not being maintained?

You have possibly looked at the top 10 publications for this inference. If you look at a wider number of publications, this may not be true. The print market is undergoing change owing to other factors such as spread of C&S, good growth in internet penetration, resulting increase in number of media used (for information, entertainment & news), paucity of time for an average individual, decreasing title loyalty etc.

 

03 Regional publications have somewhat bucked the decline trend to some extent compared to the Hindi and English players. Your comments?

There has been a significant increase in the level of marketing, new launches, geographical expansion, investment on product and reader connect among language publications for the past 3-4 years. This is evident in their market presence as well as their reach.

 

4 Within the space of regional dailies, publications from the south (like Daily Thanthi, Eenadu, Malayala Manorama etc) have shown good composure over publications from rest of India like Lokmat, Gujarat Samachar etc. Will they continue to emerge a potent force going forward too?

Owing to relatively higher literacy levels and presence of one or two dominant players in the each of the southern states, you find quite a few southern dailies in the top 10 list.

 

Also, it is difficult to predict the future. However, if you look at the level of competition, it has gone up in at least 3 southern markets of AP, Karnataka and TN. This suggests that there could be changes in market shares.

 

05 Do you see advertisers taking a relook at their association with the medium given the  slide in readership?

As I said, there is an increase in the overall reach of print medium. The budget allocation by the advertiser depends on the relative attractiveness of each medium.

 

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One response to “Jaldi 5 with Suresh Nimbalkar: Print is not declining”

  1. Sanjeev Singhai says:

    When I was kid, I learnt that “Resultant is outcome of Efforts.” But does that holds good for print publications which has increase their efforts in terms of new editions etc? Honestly, NO.

    An hour back I posted on a Group (Sanjeev’s Media Group) which I manage on Facebook an article on 2012 News Consumption in USA: “Online news consumption surpasses radio and print, study finds.” The fact is Digital Readership is gaining and is eating up a lot of print readership growth ratio. Surly alarming bells for print.

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