Hope even as some biggies degrow in Indian Readership Survey (IRS) Q3 2012

30 Jan,2013


By A Correspondent


The third quarter results of 2012 for the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) are out, and going by the topline numbers, the overall print readership has seen a growth of 0.7%… a positive trend after the degrowth in the second quarter findings. The Top 10 Publications maintain positive growth momentum. Dainik Jagran continues its leadership position amongst dailies while Vanitha is the numero uno magazine.

Even as the Hindi Dailies have shown healthy growth, Amar Ujala, Patrika and Nai Dunia have lost 72,000; 21,000 and 16,000 AIR (Average Issue Readership) respectively. The Top 10 English Dailies have registered decline in the AIR of The Telegraph, The Economic Times and The New Indian Express. The Times of India leads the chart as Hindustan Times and The Hindu follow in second and third position. The Hindu has gained 50,000 AIR this quarter.

The publications in the Language Dailies category have registered decline in the AIR. Of the 10 publications, seven have lost AIRs including Daily Thanthi, Lokmat, Mathrubhumi, Ananda Bazar Patrika, Gujarat Samachar, Dinakaran, Daily Sakal. Malayala Manorama, Eenadu and Sakshi are the only gainers in the category.

The magazines, however, have lost readership numbers barring the monthly SamanyaGyan Darpan, Hindi fortnightly Meri Saheli and Bengali weekly Karmakshetra. Vanitha, the Malayalam magazine from the house of Malayala Manorama continues to lead the chart but it has also lost readership.

In the Top 10 Hindi Magazines category, only Pratiyogita Darpan, SamanyaGyan Darpan, Meri Saheli, Grih Shobha have gained AIRs according to the third quarter of IRS. Saris Salil has lost 197,000 AIRs but still holds on to the third position in the category. CricketSamrat,IndiaToday, Grehlakshmi, Champak and Vanitha have registered decline in the AIRs.

Apart from Reader’s Digest, The Week, Stardust, all magazines in the Top 10 English Magazine category have shown decline in readership. India Today which leads the category has lost 28,000 AIR followed by General Knowledge Today that has registered a decline of 40,000. Outlook has registered a decline of 10,000 AIR in the third quarter.

Malayalam magazines Vanitha, Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi Thozhil Vartha, Mathrubhumi Arogya Masika have lost numbers in the Top 10 Language Magazine category, except Balarama. Vanitha lost 82,000 AIR. In the second position is Bengali weekly Karmakshetra that has gained 15,000 AIR.

After looking at the numbers, MxMIndia spoke to some senior media agency professionals for their views on the IRS Q3 2012 trend.


PM Balakrishna

PM Balakrishna, COO, Allied Media noted, “I am not surprised with the numbers that the magazines have been throwing up over the years. It is a well established fact that content today is being increasingly accessed across multiple platforms and the first victim of this trend will always be the magazines. It’s a fact that their circulation and overall readership base has been declining over the years. As for the dailies showing a growth, that again is on expected lines. The fact is that literacy levels in the country have been growing significantly coupled with the trend where a large number of youth are taking a liking to reading. While we are a predominantly Hindi speaking nation, English has been showing a huge spurt in terms of preference over other languages. This is a trend that can be seen in small towns and cities too. Going forward, I foresee penetration of English as a language of choice picking up in most markets across India. This will therefore lead to a comparative swell in readership of English dailies.”


He further added, “Magazines are not topical unlike the dailies. Dailies are more topical, current, immediate and give a sense of instant gratification whereas magazines are more about features, analysis etc. The audience today wants everything on the go and instantly and that’s where dailies have an upper hand compared to magazines.”


Suresh Balakrishnan

Suresh Balakrishnan, CEO, BPN said, “Dailies have been showing growth over the past few months given the rise in literacy levels, etc. Also the past few months saw war (of words) break out between dailies especially in Kolkata. This has led them to make their marketing even more aggressive. We can still expect readership to grow in our country in the next 5-6 years.”


Mr Balakrishnan added, “Magazines have been a let-down though I am a believer in magazines. But what is to be noted here that the top 6 or 7 magazines have shown degrowth, which is a trend that has been spotted. It means that readers are losing interest in general interest magazines. It is the niche magazines that are picking up like lifestyle, auto, etc. Though small, their readership base has been growing steadily.”


Peter Suresh, Head- Strategy, DB Corp Ltd put forth his concerns regarding the IRS numbers, “The quarterly figures do not shift by much, especially in a medium that does not shift dramatically unlike TV. It is more important that one considers the annual trends. I have concerns regarding the methodology of the data collection, which does not match the ground realities not only me as a publisher but for a lot of publishers. I am also concerned with the fact that Q3 data was supposed to be out in the first week of January. We are not kept in loop as to when the data will be released.”


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