Are people in Tamil Nadu ditching the newspaper for the Internet to get their daily dose of news, views and analysis? While it may take another survey to come to the conclusion, it's certainly not good news for newspapers in the state, with barring The New Indian Express, all, irrespective of the language, moving in the red with their AIR (Average Issue Readership) figures.
The worst hit is Dinamalar, which lost a gigantic 4.35 lakh average issue readers. It reported an AIR of 25.48 lakh, a loss of 14.58 per cent. The daily, ironically had shown a towering growth of over 185 per cent, in the neighbouring state (Kerala) where it took taking its AIR from a mere 7,000 in 2010 Q1 to 20,000 in 2011 Q1.
The second most hit is the leader in the state, Daily Thanthi, which recorded an AIR of 69.86 lakh, down from 71.95 lakh in 2010 Q1. Towing the top losers’ line is Malai Malar, which saw its average issue readership go down by 1.95 lakh to rest for now at 4.11 lakh, a loss of 32.18 per cent. Dinakaran, the No 2 daily in the state, too has seen a dip of 1.46 lakh average issue readers, over an AIR of 51.41 lakh in 2010 Q1. Other prominent Tamil losers include Dinamani (-60,000, a loss of 11.19 per cent) and Tamizh Murasu (-50,000/ a loss of 30.49 per cent).
The fate of English dailies too is very identical. The surprise though being The New Indian Express, which is the lone daily, across languages to show a growth from an AIR of 1.12 lakh in 2010 Q1 to 1.32 lakh in 2011 Q1, a growth of about 18 per cent.
The Hindu, which though is perched at fourth position in the rankings table for the state across languages, has recorded an AIR of 10.65, with a loss of 89,000 readers. Deccan Chronicle paving way for The Times of India, has moved down one position amongst English dailies, losing 74,000 readers, recording an AIR of 1.96 lakh. Meanwhile, thanks to a lesser loss of only 12,000 readers in comparison, The Times of India has moved ahead of Deccan Chronicle with a recorded AIR of 2.08 lakh.
Amongst Business English dailies, The Economic Times and The Hindu Business Line, have recorded an AIR of 30,000 (-21.05 per cent) and 16,000 (-30.43 per cent), respectively.
The number of Malayalam dailies' readers too is dwindling in the state. While Malayala Manorama has reported an AIR of 29,000 (-39.48 per cent), Mathrubhumi kneeled to an AIR of 11,000 from 15,000 in 2010 Q1.
Eenadu, the only Telugu daily, recorded in the survey in the state, too saw a loss of 47.83 per cent, recording an AIR of 12,000.