As newspaper giant The Times of India plans to enter the Malayalam dominated market, Kerala, can it reverse the declining fortunes of the English dailies? The answer to the question is still wide open. As of now, English dailies like The Hindu, The New Indian Express and The Hindu Business Line have reported a substantial drop in their AIR (Average Issue Readership), as per the IRS 2011 Q1 findings, pipped against figures for 2010 Q1.
Both The Hindu and The New Indian Express figure in the Top 10 table for dailies across languages. However, in Kerala, both have seen a tremendous loss. The Hindu has reported a loss of 52,000 (-13.82 per cent) average issue readers, over an AIR figure of 3.76 lakh in 2010 Q1. The New Indian Express has recorded an AIR of 2.15 lakh, with a loss of 5.29 per cent. The Hindu Business Line has nosedived losing 10,000 average issue readers, over the year. It has an AIR of 18,000.
The mandate is clearly for Malayalam language. To talk about the growth of some of the Malayalam dailies in percentages would be injustice to them. Take this: Malayalam Manorama grew only by 3.82 per cent and Mathrubhumi, merely by 1.53 per cent. Now, let’s get out of the percentages and see the actuals. Malayala Manorama consolidating its enviable average issue readership of 94.75 lakh in 2010 Q1 to 98.37 lakh in 2011 Q1, a whopping addition of 3.62 lakh. With a huge margin of 30.65 lakh at No 2 is Mathrubhumi, which has reported an AIR of 67.72 lakh, an addition of 1.02 lakh.
As for Madhyamam, both percentages and actuals paint a very happy picture. The growth, while highest, is by 15.45 per cent; AIR meanwhile has grown from 7.64 lakh in 2010 Q1 to 8.82 lakh, in 2011 Q1. The other gainers are Deepika (+13,000) and Deshabhimani (+6,000).
The gain for the above has come at the cost of Kerala Kaumudi (AIR of 5.7 lakh, a loss of 34.63 per cent), Mangalam (-80,000), Rashtra Deepika 6D (-67,000), Kerala Kaumudi Flash (-49,000), Udayavani (-26,000, a loss of 40 per cent).
Meanwhile, Tamil too seems to be gaining ground in the state. Dinamalar saw a towering growth of over 185 per cent, taking its AIR from a mere 7,000 in 2010 Q1 to 20,000 in 2011 Q1. Dinakaran, meanwhile, opened its account with the survey, reporting an AIR 18,000.