Sanjeev Kotnala: IRS 2019/Q1 gives print Publishers reasons to Smile

30 Apr,2019

Sanjeev Kotnala

By Sanjeev Kotnala


The Indian Readership Survey (IRS) Quarter 1, 2019 findings are out. It brings good news to print publishers. Their reach and readership continue to expand. The total monthly reader touches new peak at 42 crores, a growth of 4.4%.  In this period, the number of households has also grown by 4%. Any daily reach remains unchanged at 39% all India level, 53%. Urban and moves from 32 to 33% in Rural. Reason enough for print publishers to smile.

The results are based on a sample size of 3.24 lakh households, making it perhaps the biggest survey after the census in the country.  The country must be doing something right as NCCS D/E has also shrunk from 40 to 38%. The percentage of the population having a gas stove has moved from 66 to 72%. BJP should be happy to note, the scheme has made an impact.

This growth in durable ownership is seen across the parameters that define NCCS, like Electricity, Ceiling fan, Mobile phone, Colour TV and as they cross the 66% mark, the need for a new more sharply defined segmentation system becomes that much acute.

The findings show a gradual increase in percentage reach in 12-plus individuals across media. It also makes the print publishers happy, that the population that has accessed the Internet in last one month has only increased from 33 to 39% in urban area and 12 to 16% in rural areas.  The market impression has been different. With the enhanced accessibility, affordability and availability of digital data, one expected even sharper growth.  More reasons to smile for Print Publishers. However, the ONLY 2019 Q1 Unrolled data shows the segment of Active Internet users is at 51% in Urban and 28% in Rural.

If one looks deeper, there is a small increase in the Up to 7 days (U7D) readership for English, which is a reflection of an almost dramatic rise in population of ‘Can Read and Understand English’. I believe that it will give the English print a surge in future.

The online newspaper readership on a 1-month basis at 26% seems to be inching towards the magical tipping point of 32% for NCCS A1 segment. It is still miles away, as this is a monthly readership and not a daily or weekly figure.  Reason enough to smile.

The findings are based on a further strengthened and digitised robust survey process.  IRS promises to be on track and to release quarterly data in the future. Not that much of tectonic changes are expected every quarter, but buzz with every survey does help in keeping the medium in focus. Meanwhile, a group of print publishers have come together for the ‘Print is proof’ campaign.  I have reasons to believe that there is positivity in the Print publishers ecosystem.

Every measurement system is always Work-in-Progress, and it evolves with time and users input.  There will always be detractors and followers of such measurement systems. In the media ecosystem, the second largest media cannot do without measurement and IRS 2019, has adopted a robust methodology in its attempt to iron out the earlier issues and shortcomings.

Compliments to MRUC which itself is a body with representatives from advertisers, agencies and publishers to have done the excellent work. Now it is time for the industry to support and use it to the best of advantage.


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