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NRS 2006: Newspapers driving print media growth in India

The reach of the print media in India continues to grow at least in terms of numbers – it has increased from 206 million to 222 million in the last one year. This media sector is being driven largely by newspapers with magazines seeing a sharp decline of 12 per cent, acording to the National Readership Survey (NRS) 2006.

SPREADING IT WIDER: Dailies continue to grow, adding 12.6 million readers from last year to reach 203.6 million while there has been a drop of 7.1 million magazine readers. This refers only to mainstream magazines. A host of niche titles that continue to be launched regularly are not fielded and their collective readership estimate is outside the purview of the study. There is still significant scope for growth, as 359 million people who can read and understand any language do not read any publication. Of this 359 million, 68 per cent read Hindi. (Reuters)

The reach of dailies as a proportion of all individuals aged 12 years and above – which is the universe defined for NRS – has increased, though marginally, from 24 per cent to 25 per cent. Magazines have declined from 9 per cent to 8 per cent in the last one year.

The press reach has stabilised in urban India – at 45 per cent., while that in rural India has also stayed the same at 19 per cent – needless to say, on a much larger population base. The number of readers in rural India (110 million) is now roughly equal to that in urban India (112 million).

The National Readership Study (NRS) is the largest survey of its kind in the world. NRS 2006 included a sample size of 284,373 house-to-house interviews to measure media exposure and consumer product penetration in both urban and rural India. The study covered 535 publications of which 230 were dailies and 305 magazines. The fieldwork for this survey was done from February to May this year.

Dailies continue to grow, adding 12.6 million readers from last year to reach 203.6 million while there has been a drop of 7.1 million magazine readers. This refers only to mainstream magazines. A host of niche titles that continue to be launched regularly are not fielded and their collective readership estimate is outside the purview of the study.

There is still significant scope for growth, as 359 million people who can read and understand any language do not read any publication. Of this 359 million, 68 per cent read Hindi. It is not just affordability that is a constraint, since 20 million of these literate non-readers belong to the upscale SEC A and B segments.

The Hindi belt has been witness to intense activity from large dailies and is an indicator of the general growth in the vernacular dailies segment. To elaborate, vernacular dailies have grown from 191.0 million readers to 203.6 million while English dailies have stagnated at around 21 million.

Magazines overall have shown a decline in the reader base, both in urban and rural India. The reach of magazines has declined from 75 million in 2005 to 68 million in 2006. Magazines have lost 12 per cent of their reach since 2005.

EMPTY HALLS: Cinema has, on the surface, declined sharply from 51 million individuals going regularly to the movies (at least once a month) to 39 million. This has been the story for years now. However, the cinema audience seems to have been reversed in urban India – from 23 million regular theatre-goers last year NRS now estimates there are 25 million. As a proportion this means a marginal increase from 9.6 per cent to 10.0 per cent. (QSC Audio)

Satellite TV, on the other hand, has grown considerably in reach – from 207 million individuals watching in an average week in 2005 to as many as 230 million individuals in 2006 – further expanding its lead over the number of readers.

Television now reaches 112 million homes reflecting a growth of 3.2 per cent over last year. Homes with access to C&S (cable and satellite) have increased by 12 per cent from 61 million to 68 million this year. C&S reach has now penetrated 61 per cent of all TV homes up from 56 per cent last year.

Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh dominate the markets with TV reach of 76.2 per cent, 76.2 per cent and 78 per cent respectively. These states also have high penetration of C&S i.e. 60 per cent, 53 per cent and 59 per cent respectively.

Radio is one medium that has shown considerable resurgence. Its reach has increased from 23 per cent to 27 per cent of the population listening to any station in the average week. Almost equalling the number of readers. FM radio has driven this explosion in reach – from 76 million individuals listening in an average week in 2005 to as many as 119 million individuals in 2006 – a 55 per cent increase over last year.

Cinema has, on the surface, declined sharply from 51 million individuals going regularly to the movies (at least once a month) to 39 million. This has been the story for years now. However, the cinema audience seems to have been reversed in urban India – from 23 million regular theatre-goers last year NRS now estimates there are 25 million. As a proportion this means a marginal increase from 9.6 per cent to 10.0 per cent.

Date posted: August 31, 2006 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 19323