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Want to know your market? Check the English magazines it reads.<br>An exchange4media analysis of the IRS-01R1 survey data.

06-July-2001
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Want to know your market? Check the English magazines it reads.<br>An exchange4media analysis of the IRS-01R1 survey data.

Delhi lives on India Today. Mumbai prefers Reader’s Digest. Calcutta swings both ways, equally. But if you thought that other magazines too showed divergent skews, think again. The women’s magazines, the film magazines or even the computer magazines show an overall similarity across Mumbai and Delhi. exchange4media makes an attempt to read a pattern, in the latest IRS data (IRS-01R1).

Broadly speaking, large cities have a certain similarity about them. Living spaces, civic problems, education opportunities, health services, population density, commuting, law and order, average income, material aspirations, market potential, consumer profile and similar such things. Marketers tend to see a demographic homogeneity across large cities.

Despite a seemingly similar veneer of demographics, mature marketers also know very well how the divergent mindsets differentiate any two cities. Mumbai, bigger in size than Delhi, has only half as many readers of India Today as Delhi. But they read marginally more Outlook, The Week and Time. So, does an average Mumbaikar have different priorities in life? Or is it that India Today does not push itself hard enough in Mumbai?

Before you start theorising about the hard working and harder commuting Mumbaikars, too busy surviving the demands that the city places on them, hang on. It isn’t that Mumbaikars do not have time to read. As many as (4 lakh +) read RD in Mumbai as Delhi has IT readers. RD and IT are two far apart poles in the English magazine spectrum. The fact that they have some common readers too, does not mitigate this difference one bit. And the fact that various other genres have an even spread across both the cities makes this difference even more startling.

Look at Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai now. Chennai was counted among the four original metros. Bangalore and Hyderabad joined in later to make it six. Bangalore is the smallest of the three in size. But a cursory look at the readership levels will bring forth the contrast. Bangalore has more readers of IT than both. It has more readers of Outlook, The Week and Time too. Chennai scores only for Frontline. Chennai is the largest of the three cities but has the least readers for almost all English magazines in different genres. The gap is not a few insignificant percentage points. It is often as large as 60% to 70% and in some cases over 300% to 400%. So what does it say about Bangalore? Conversely, how does Chennai look in the light of these facts?

Now our good ‘ol Kolkata- the venerable center of academia and intellect. This first capital of the British and ‘home’ to almost all the Best-selling Indian authors in English is bigger than both Bangalore and Hyderabad put together. But its readership levels of IT are lower than both Bangalore and Hyderabad, separately. Likewise, it reads less of The Week as well as Time. Barring a stray frontline or some other such exception, the pattern runs through the entire list of English magazines. This data may not present Kolkata in a fresh new perspective, but it certainly validates what most marketers experience day in and day out.

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