The top line readership data presented by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) at an industry meet held in Mumbai on November 4, doesn't present a happy picture. According to a presentation made by Hansa Research's Ashok Das, all media show a declining regularity of consumption in terms of daily consumption over weekly reach.
According to the presentation, all figures show a negative trend - while regularity of any publication has declined by -17.5 per cent, daily has gone down by -17.9 per cent, magazine by -21.2 per cent, TV channel by -2.8 per cent and radio by -14.9 per cent.
The average frequency of reading has also gone down for all print periodicities - any daily (in a week) and weekly (in four weeks) has decreased by -2.5 pr cent and -9.1 per cent, respectively. On the other hand, the average frequency of viewing/ listening has increased for TV, radio and the Internet. As per figures in a week any TV, C&S, radio and Internet has increased by 5.3 per cent, 1.6 per cent, 5.6 per cent and 33.3 per cent, respectively.
The figures also show that the number of titles read is declining, while the number of channels consumed in TV and radio show an increasing trend. As per the more stringent AIR or equivalent level, the average number of publications, dailies and magazines declined by -23.8 per cent, -13.3 per cent and -22.7 per cent, respectively.
Average time spent on media shows an increasing trend, which has been mainly due to TV and radio - in 2007-08, it has increased from 96.4 minutes to 99.4 minutes for television and 70.4 minutes to 81.1 minutes for radio. Print, however, shows a slight decline in terms of time spent from 27.4 minutes to 26.5 minutes in 2007-08. Time spent on the Internet has also declined from 62.3 minutes to 60.1 minutes. The total time spent on media has increased from 115.8 minutes to 121.1 minutes in 2007-08.
However, given the higher fragmentation of TV and radio, the time spent per channel is now declining by -14.1 per cent and -2.0 per cent, respectively. In print, the time spent per title has gone up by 10.6 per cent, possibly signifying an important opportunity for the print industry.
In general, proportion of readers reading their own copy is on the rise and this trend of increasing primary readership is seen for all segments.
The figures also show that percentage of Internet users using it for news has increased from 24.1 per cent to 25.9 per cent in 2007-08. A large proportion of Internet users access news on the net. However, given the small base, this is still small in terms of total numbers, but shows a fast increasing trend.