The Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2009 R1 data was released by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) on May 8, 2009. According to the Average Issue Readership (AIR) figures, Dainik Jagran has the highest readership, followed by Dainik Bhaskar. Among the English dailies, The Times of India leads, followed by Hindustan Times. However, the figures show a decline in readership, which is true for most of the publications.
The Delhi scene
Looking at the figures from a city-wise perspective, though Hindustan
Times is the top publication in Delhi, the AIR figures show a drop
from 2,011,000 in IRS 2008 R2 to 1,991,000 in IRS 2009 R1. The Times
of India, which is at No. 2, has grown from 1,935,000 in 2008 R2 to
1,954,000 in this round. Navbharat Times has grown by 1.8 percent from
1,539,000 in 2008 R2 to 1,568,000 in 2009 R1 in terms of Average Issue
Readership (AIR). Hindustan is the fourth largest publication in Delhi
with a 14.3 percent growth. The publication has grown from 1,104,000
in 2008 R2 to 1,262,000 in this round in terms of AIR. Punjab Kesari
has seen a growth of 5.7 percent in its AIR – from 728,000 in 2008 R2
to 770,000 in this round.
Dainik Jagran has registered a growth 6.2 percent in its AIR at
615,000 and is placed in sixth position in Delhi. The Economic Times
comes next with an AIR of 178,000, registering a decline of 5.8
percent, as compared to 189,000 in 2008 R2. Metro Now has seen the
highest growth among the top Delhi publications with a 108 percent
growth in its AIR at 146,000. In IRS 2008 R2, the publication had an
AIR of 70,000. Mint at 136,000 AIR has also seen considerable growth
at 38.7 percent.
The Mumbai scene
In Mumbai, The Times of India maintains its lead with AIR of
1,520,000, but there is a 2.1 percent decline from 2008 R2’s figures
of 1,553,000. Maharashtra Times is at No. 2 with an AIR of 983,000,
which is a 5.1 percent growth compared to 935,000 in the previous
round. Mumbai Mirror follows with AIR of 865,000, again a decline in
its AIR from 873,000 in 2008 R2. Loksatta is at No. 4 with an AIR of
730,000, a 2.5 percent decline. DNA is at No. 5 with an AIR of
705,000, registering a 4.8 percent growth, as compared to their
previous round’s figures of 673,000.
Gujarat Samachar has shown a growth of 4.5 percent from 566,000 to
592,000; Hindustan Times is at No. 7 in Mumbai with an AIR of 548,000,
a growth of 4.1 percent. Navakal is next with an AIR of 541,000, a
growth of 3.4 percent, while Lokmat has seen a growth of 7 percent in
its AIR to 513,000. Navbharat Times, too, has seen a growth in its AIR
at 7.8 percent to 480,000.
When it comes to English publications in Mumbai, DNA has registered
the maximum growth of 4.8 per cent in its AIR, with Hindustan Times
following with a growth of 4.2 per cent. Though The Times of India is
placed at No. 1 in Mumbai, the paper has seen a drop of 2.1 per cent
in its AIR figures.
Commenting on DNA’s growth in Mumbai, Girish Agarwal, Director, Bhaskar Group, said that DNA’s growth story was because of the connection that it had with its readers. He further said, “DNA is an acceptance, recognition and appreciation of what the readers find a connect with. The initiative, analysis, flow of information and content with the right balance of infotainment is what the new consumer in the metro is seeking from his newspaper.”
“Our experiment with circulation and readership has shown that the reader is willing to make a choice and a change if they are provided with a product that answers their needs. DNA has been continuously evolving as a research based product, which invests heavily in readers’ need-demands and perception research. The results are evident in the growth seen by DNA,” Agarwal explained.
Commenting on the decline in AIR of The Times of India in Mumbai,
Rahul Kansal, CMO, BCCL, maintained that though readership figures
were important, they did not really help in the long term. “Readership
figures is short term and we look at long term activities like
bringing in new readers, increasing readership over time, being a big
iconic brand, which TOI is. All of our marketing and brand activities
are focused for long term achievement of the publication. Thus, the
readership figures, though important to us, does not really affect the
publication on the whole,” Kansal asserted.