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IRS 2006: Dailies, newspapers see decline in readership

Just when it seemed the print media was booming once again, the Indian Readership Survey 2006 Round 1 has pricked the bubble. There are few newspapers or magazines that have seen any growth ? most have seen an erosion in readership.

Dainik Jagran retains its No 1 position among newspapers with 19.07 million readers, Dainik Bhaskar follows second with 14.57 million, and Daily Thanthi is third with a readership of 10.23 million. Amar Ujala is still at four with 9.89 million readers.

Malayala Manorama (9.35 million) and Hindustan (9.72 million) have interchanged positions at number five and six. Lokmat, Eenadu, Mathrubhumi and Times of India take the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth spots with 8.10 million, 7.94 million, 7.65 million, and 7.08 million readers, respectively. ToI is the only English daily to find a place in the top 10. Except for Amar Ujala and Hindustan, every other publication in the top ten list has experienced a marginal decline in readership.

For the IRS 2006 R1 an annual sample size of 2.4 lakh was covered spread equally over two rounds. A total of 1,178 towns and 2,894 villages were surveyed. The data represents fieldwork during the full year Jan-Dec 2005. The mid-point of the survey is June 1, 2005. Being a continuous survey, the reporting takes place every six months based on a Moving Annual Total.

Among magazines, Saras Salil (Hindi) leads the pack with a readership of 7.36 million. A distant second is Kungumam (Tamil) with 3.76 million, followed by Vanitha with 3.52 million readers. India Today English is fourth with a readership of 3.51 million. Grihashobha (Hindi) has moved up a notch to number five, and is followed by Tamil weekly Kumudam, India Today Hindi, Malayala Manorama, Tamil weekly Anand Vikatan, and Hindi monthly Meri Saheli. Kungumam, Anand Vikatan, and Meri Saheli and newcomers in the top ten list.

Most English dailies have seen a fall in readership, though on the whole any English daily readership has shown an increase from the 17,396,000 in IRS 2005 R2 to 17,435,000 in IRS 2006 R1. Both the top two ? the Times of India and Hindustan Times ? have seen a decline with the former dropping from 72.87 lak to 70.84 lakh and the latter from 35.21 lakh to 35.08 lakh. Third-placed Hindu has increased its readership marginally from 27.87 lakh to 27.97 lakh. Deccan Chronicle's too has grown ? from 10.14 lakh to its current 11.32 lakh. The Telegraph (10.82 lakh), Mid Day (7.37 lakh), Deccan Herald (6.04 lakh), the Indian Express (5.65 lakh), the Tribune (4.83 lakh), the Statesman (4.22 lakh), the Assam Tribune (3.45 lakh) ? all have seen fall in readership.

Among English magazines, number one India Today has dropped by 10 per cent from 38.99 lakh to 35.09 lakh. Sister concern ? Reader’s Digest ? too has seen a 12 per cent fall and is at 23.06 lakh from 26.37 lakh. Filmfare has seen one the steepest falls ? its readership fell 21 per cent to 16.71 lakh. Outlook has dropped by 11 per cent and is at 11.44 lakh. Stardust, too, has dropped and is currently at 10.95 lakh in comparison to the 13.11 lakh in the previous round.

From women’s magazines ? Femina, Women’s Era, Cosmopolitan, New Woman, Elle and Savvy ? to special interest titles like The Sportstar, Auto India, Overdrive, Outlook Traveller, Capital Market, Living Digital, all have seen a dip in readership, with some titles like PC Quest and Junior Science Refresher dropping by almost 23 per cent.

According to the survey, the number of households has grown by 1.4 per cent over 2005 to reach 210 million. Individual growth rate has been slightly lower than household growth rate at 0.85 taking the total 12 yrs + population to 784 million. With single age-breaks now available from the Census, the age group data has been realigned. The proportion of the total share of 20-29 age group has declined from 25 per cent to 23.6 per cent.

The data shows that the reach of mass media has stagnated in the last three years. Press reach has been hovering around at 24 per cent, TV at 55 per cent, radio at 21 per cent, and Internet at 1.5 per cent at the all India level. In urban India, press and TV have declined. The press reach declined from 42.9 per cent in 2004 to 41.7 per cent in 2006. Though TV declined from 80.2 per cent to 78.9 per cent in the last three years, C&S has shown some growth, from 53.5 per cent in 2004 to 54.4 per cent in 2006.

Date posted: April 9, 2006 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 18121