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Indian Readership Survey R1 2009: Some Highlights

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The 2009 Round One of the Indian Readership Survey is out, with mixed trends. Only nine of the top 25 most read publications (including dailies and periodicals) registered a growth in readership. The combined percentage decline in readership, for the 16 publications that registered a drop, was 51.89%. In the elite top 25 club, Marathi daily Pudhari grew the most, at 8.83%, while Saras Salil, a weekly magazine from Delhi Press, dropped the most, at 12.95%. These figures are total readership and all figures are in thousands. Depending on how their publications fared, media houses typically support total readership, or the other metric, average issue readership. Here’s the complete data on the top 25 publications. All comparisons are with Round two of IRS 2008.

Segment-wise Readership

This category measures the universe of readers who reads any publication in a segment. So the universe of readers who read any English daily, grew 0.47% to 3.1 crore. There are no definitive trends across categories, but weeklies in all languages, except Malayalam, registered a drop.
Here’s the full segment-wise readership.

Gainers and Losers

Some of the most read publications also figure in the list that lost the most readers. Dainik Jagran, India’s most read publication, for instance, lost some 1.1 million readers. Telugu daily Vartha lost the most, 1.3 million readers, or 21% of its readership. Vartha has presumably been cannibalized by Saakshi, the new Telugu daily that was launched by chief minister Y.S.R. Reddy’s son Jagan Mohan Reddy. Here’s a list of top 20 gainers and losers. Please note that this is in absolute numbers and not in percentages.

English dailies:

Of the top 24 most read English dailies, only six registered a gain in readership. Mint, HT Media’s business daily, grew the most, posting a 15.67% growth in readership. This, is however, not counting Metro Now, which grew its readership by 103%, but has since been discontinued as a daily by its joint promoters Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd and HT Media Ltd. DNA, which grew 11.37%, comes second. The New Indian Express, lost 14.19% of its readers, followed by The Indian Express, which lost 11.37%. Here’s the complete picture.

English magazines:

Magazines present an alarming picture, with every single magazine in the top 25 registering a drop. Here’s a list of top 25 English magazines and how they fared.

8 Responses to “Indian Readership Survey R1 2009: Some Highlights”

  1. Haroon

    This is true that day by day literacy is increasing but readership is going down. Infact coming generation is least interested in going through the news dailies, but attaching themselves with new world of electronic media, computer and mobile. This is a great challenge before print media to lure this generation.

  2. More and more publication related companies are closing because of decreasing in number of subscriptions or readers. While some others continue to earn profit during this global economic crisis.

  3. Sudarshan

    Dear friends, wanted to comment on some of the comments given by Mahesh and Anita.

    Though there is no issue in telling that content does matter, please do also remember that the newspaper industry has now fragmented, This fall is not now, its been falling since 2001 and this fall is due to newspapers getting out of their defined boundaries and getting into other centers, like Bhaskar getting out of MP and getting into Rajasthan, Punjab and so on. TOI which never wanted to get into the south, launching the edition in Chennai. Now tell me if these newspapers come in they dont keep quite, they drop their price and give subscriptions, which people like us take because of the size of the newspapers. Tell me when you dint have the time to read one newspaper how will you read two?? The major reason why people subscribe is so that the scrap value of this newspaper (which they have subscribed at throw away price) can fund the cost of the main newspaper they read. or vice-a-versa. Now content and how the newspaper is delivered plays a role here. If the new newspaper's content is what the readers want, then the existing newspaper takes a beating, if the existing newspaper is delivering what the readers want the new newspaper gets a beating. This explains why, though circulation has increased, but the readership will not increase. On the delivery mechanism. Please note that people see something and start believing it. When you get the two newspapers in the morning, see how it is delivered. If it is delivered the mumbai style (one newspaper inside the other newspaper) or the delhi style (two newspapers rolled with a rubber band and thrown into your balcony). The newspaper on the top always has a higher propensity to be read. If you clinch this with your newspaper vendor and put some good photographs (please dont read me wrong in this), and brilliant headlines, and keep continuing this for say a month, you can change the reader's habit. I am a culprit of that (what HT did to me when i was in Mumbai).

    Now coming to the competitors of Newspapers. Newspaper's competition now is not a newspaper or a magazine it is the television news media. With India TV, Aj Tak and other news channels, no news is old. Unlike yesteryears (which raghu will vouch for), before we get the newspaper in the morning we know everything through these channels and through internet. Now if this keeps happening newspapers will loose its charm. They have to do something about this by changing their content to not report NEWS but features that would interest the readers. By doing this, they might well be killing their own counterpart THE MAGAZINES.

    If you see the analysis of these newspapers by Age, you will see that the proportion of people who are reading the newspapers regularly (AIR) are older and will keep getting older as they are the people who cannot stay without a newspaper, unlike the new generation who has a plathora of options to quench their thirst for news. Dont forget these new generation people keep growing every year by age and this, over time will become a huge segment, so act now.

    For Magazines, the main problem is the periodicity they release in. Gone are those days when people used to wait for a Mayapuri or a Filmfare, with Zoom and MTV and Channel V and Fashion TV doing their rounds, Filmfares have lost the charm. General interest magazines do not work now, its the specific interest magazines which even if smaller can do wonders as they dont have competition.

    Way forward, Newspapers doing what magazines do, and magazines changing into specific interest, probably will see too many of them but will also see consistent increase in readership round after round.


  5. the decline in the top brand is an indication that content is the key and not customer loyalty. The decrease in the readership of Indian express is very surprising. they should sincerely think of getting new content & format rather than following the same old format for years.