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Story In Numbers

That newspaper readership is growing was never a matter of dispute. And we now have the IRS results to reiterate the fact

The latest Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2017 has once again brought the focus back on print media. The latest survey numbers indicate 9 per cent growth in total newspaper readership in last four years. The survey also revealed that the English newspaper readership has grown by 10 per cent over the last four years and touched 2.8 crore in IRS 2017, as compared to 2.5 crore in the last IRS, while Hindi readership stands at 17.6 crore in IRS 2017, up 45 per cent from 12.1 crore in IRS 2014. The survey covered a full year sample size of 3.2 lakh households, a sample size increase by an unprecedented 34 per cent over the previous edition of the study in 2014.

Dainik Jagran and The Times of India emerged the top dailies with a readership of 7,03,77,000 and 1,30,47,000, respectively.

“It is the hard work of all the departments put together that we have become No. 1 again,” says Sanjay Gupta, CEO, Jagran Prakashan, commenting on the findings of this report. “We have been at the top for many years now and I am glad that this result has once again reiterated the power of print.”

The latest IRS 2017 report also offers new readership metrics. Apart from the standard and well-established average issue readership metric, one can now look at data from the perspective of total readership (TR), and readership of publications by timeframes of last 7 days and last 3 days. These new metrics have been introduced to provide a true representation of the changing consumption habits among newspaper readers.

“IRS is a great product and has come out after some time, but all care has been taken to ensure that there are no shortcomings,” says Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands.“It is a sample survey done today and hopefully, people will use the data maturely. You must remember there are levels and this is a representation on a sample. So, in a sample survey, whatever happens, happens, that is the way to look at it. Once the data goes out, it will be in public space and people will start using the data. So now, we are presenting the top line data. You will see the detailed data going out,” explains Sinha.

“IRS 2017 with its robust systems and improved methodology has reaffirmed what advertisers and readers have always believed about Lokmat’s leadership,” says Rishi Darda, Editorial and Joint MD, Lokmat Media Group, while sharing his views on the IRS data. “Regional publications will pave the way for growth of new Bharat and rural readership has grown significantly contributing to a higher pie in the overall readership and growth of print in India. Overall 40 per cent growth in print is so heartening and it clearly shows readers only believe in true journalism.”

A Good Restart
The data from the latest IRS (2017) points to a few important trends in Indian print media. One, India continues to defy global trends by witnessing robust growth. Two, this growth is primarily driven by language press with Hindi language print witnessing 45 per cent growth in four years.

The data also shows that print magazines added 3.8 crore new readers, which is almost a 75 per cent jump in total readership. These positive numbers have once again reiterated that print magazines are here to stay.

“Delighted to see the IRS set global benchmarks in sample size, design and tight monitoring. Very encouraged to see that the survey reinforces what we have always believed in,” says Aroon Purie, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief , India Today Group. “The magazines are far more relevant now and the age of the discerning media consumer has returned. To have India Today as the most read magazine is very satisfying. It makes me happy and validates my belief that good editorial works,” adds Purie. He further adds, “The cross-media comparison really helps us gauge the real headroom for each of the brands and there is every reason to believe that the print medium is still a very strong force to reckon with and increasingly more relevant as the consumer seeks clarity in the midst of the information explosion.”

For those observing the new Indian readers and the media industry the survey’s numbers are just a way of reiterating what they always believed. However, measuring of the magazine readership has given them the further boost. “The survey validates magazine publishers concerns that the previous rounds were not equipped to pick up readership at a wider spectrum. Now that the sample size has increased, we are glad that it is showing a more accurate picture of how the print in India is consumed and within that, we are glad that the magazine readership is being better measured,” says Anant Nath, Editor, The Caravan & Executive Editor, Delhi Press Group.

“We always believed that the print readership, and especially the magazine readership, was under quoted and under-measured in previous rounds. I won’t even compare it with previous rounds. I would say it is more of a correction than the trend and a good restart to the measurement of magazines,” he adds.

Spenta Multimedia’s managing director Maneck Davar, too, believes that IRS results will provide a big boost to the print magazine industry. “It is a big boost for the entire industry and I hope this trend continues. It also shows that the industry is readjusting itself and focusing more on content and marketing. With this data, there will definitely be more positivity and the fact that magazines are not a marginal medium is something which the advertisers will consider now,” says Davar.

Regional Readership Rules The Roost
The latest Indian Readership Survey has reiterated the power of the regional press. The survey covered a full year sample size of 3.2 lakh households, a sample size increase by an unprecedented 34 per cent over the previous edition of the study in 2014.

Among the regional players, Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi and Marathi daily Lokmat command highest readership followed by Malayala Manorama. According to the IRS data, Daily Thanthi is the largest read language daily in the country.

Telugu daily Eenadu is the fourth largest read language daily followed by Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika at No. 5. Tamil daily Dinakaran, Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi, Gujarati daily Gujarat Samachar, Tamil daily Dinamalar and Marathi daily Daily Sakalare are also among India’s top10 regional dailies.

Among regional magazines, Malayalam fortnightly magazine Vanitha continued to be the largest read regional language magazine in the country with a huge margin. The total readership of the magazine stood at 61,26,000.

The No. 2 magazine is Tamil Weekly AnandaVikatan, which had not featured in the Top 10 list of regional language magazines in IRS 2014.

Malayalam monthly Mathrubhumi Arogya Masika is at No. 3 followed by Tamil weekly Kumudam at No. 4 and Malayalam weekly Mathrubhumi Thozhilvartha is at No. 5.

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