It has turned out be a bad year for dailies in Himachal Pradesh, reflected in the figures for the topline papers, which have seen a sharp decline in readership both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter as per the IRS 2011 results. While the combined yearly drop in average issue readership (AIR) of the top nine dailies totalled 1.07 lakh, the total increase in AIR trailed close behind at 95,000. The overall q-o-q decline in AIR came up to 62,000, while the total gain in AIR stood at 28,000.
Amar Ujala at No. 1 was the only Hindi daily among the top nine in Himachal Pradesh to see a rise in AIR. It saw the highest increase in AIR y-o-y (+88,000/ 24% gain) and q-o-q (+24,000/ 6% gain). Among English dailies, Hindustan Times was the only one that reflected this trend by recording a 60 per cent increase in AIR over last year (+6,000) and a gain of 23 per cent (+3,000) over IRS 2011 Q1. The Economic Times registered a 50 per cent gain year-on-year (+1,000) with a current AIR of 3,000.
All the other players have registered decline in readership base from 2010 Q2 and over the previous quarter. Year-on-year, Punjab Kesari (-61,000/ 15% drop) and Dainik Jagran (-24,000/ 57% drop) recorded the steepest decline in AIR. Quarter-on-quarter, Divya Himachal (-22,000/ 12% drop) and Punjab Kesari (-20,000/ 5% drop) registered the highest decline in AIR. Dainik Bhaskar registered a year-on-year drop of 15 per cent (-9,000), The Tribune, a 13 per cent drop (-6,000), and The Times of India, a 27 per cent drop (-3,000). From 2011 Q1 to 2011 Q2 Dainik Bhaskar lost 12 per cent in AIR (-7,000), The Tribune lost 15 per cent (-7,000), Dainik Jagran saw a 14 per cent decline (-3,000), The Times of India registered a 20 per cent dip (-2,000), and The Economic Times witnessed a 25 per cent fall (-1,000).
Hindi periodicals dominated the top 10 list in the state, but while some saw a moderate increase in AIR, others saw a decline. Cricket Samrat, which tops the list, added 19,000 readers over the previous quarter (56 per cent increase) and 7,000 readers over last year (15 per cent increase). The Hindi edition of weekly magazine India Today recorded the same trend with a 64 per cent gain from 2011 Q1 (+9,000) and a 28 per cent gain from 2010 Q2 (+5,000). Hindi monthly Filmidunia at No. 3 gained 2,000 readers over last year (10 per cent gain), while losing 3,000 readers over the previous quarter (12 per cent drop).
The English edition of India Today lost 11,000 readers over 2010 Q2 (50 per cent drop) and increased its q-o-q readership by 3,000 (38 per cent gain). Hindi weekly Sahara Samay saw a dip in year-on-year AIR by 9 per cent (-1,000) while gaining 43 per cent over the previous quarter (+3,000).
Readers’ Digest saw an increase in AIR from 2010 Q2 by 8 per cent (+1,000) while maintaining its AIR over the quarter. While Hindi monthly Vanitha added 9,000 readers over the quarter, weekly India News lost 1,000 readers during the same period. English monthly Competition Success Review (-11,000, 48 per cent drop y-o-y and -7,000, 37 per cent decline q-o-q) and Hindi fortnightly Grih Shobha (-3,000, 27 per cent fall y-o-y and -9,000, 53 per cent drop q-o-q) witnessed decline in AIR as compare to last and also the previous quarter.