IRS 2019: Future of Print under Microscope

30 Apr,2019


By Indrani Sen


Indrani Sen

The recent release of IRS 2019 by the MRUC did not have as dramatic impact as the release of IRS 2017 when the definition of readership was changed from “Average Issue Readership” (AR) to Total Readership” (TR). Yes, the TR has gone up by 2.7 crore from 40.7 crore to 42.5 crore with both newspapers and magazines contributing to the raise the numbers, but if we try to read between the information in the carefully drafted PPT released by MRUC for consumption of Industry at large, we find some red flags concealed in certain corners.

Let us look at the slide on all media consumption highlighting the growth of internet. Internet accessed has grown by 5% from IRS 2017 to IRS’19Q1. No other medium has shown this kind of growth. While total readers have increased to 42.5 crore, the internet users are now 384 million, or 38.4 crore. With increase of another 5 to 6 million internet users, soon the internet penetration will be same as penetration of print on All India basis. Print media needs to plan for their digital strategy asap in order to survive.

The NCCS distribution going flat is a clear indication that MRUC needs to rework the definitions based on ownership of durables. The PPT has put in a flag in couple of slides saying “Need for a sharper socio economic discriminator?” No timeline for a working plan was indicated at the launch event.

In this connection, I would like to mention that my students at SIMC did a survey last year on media habits of non-teaching staff working in all Institutes of Lavale campus of Symbiosis, Pune. They found that the need of giving good education to their students and the availability of easy EMI have made 90% of ‘bhaiyas’ and ‘mausis’ with their children in secondary schools have made them purchase either desktop or laptop computers for their use at home. I have been commenting on this need for a change in NCCS for some time. I am happy to see that MRUC has acknowledged it this time in their PPT on IRS 2019.

Finally, I would like to comment that print players need to respect the findings of IRS 2019. MRUC should get a continuous flow of funds from them, so that no disruptions occur in the field work like it happened after the release of IRS 2017.



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