It has certainly not been a good quarter for dailies in West Bengal. While Ananda Bazar Patrika, the leader in the space, has lost 4.74 lakh over the previous quarter, most of the topline Bengali newspapers have also witnessed decline in average issue readership (AIR). Bartaman and Uttar Banga Sambad are the only two dailies among the top ten to have seen growth in readership. However, comparatively periodicals have seen some good results in the state as the top three magazines added more readers in the last one year.
With a 7 per cent decline in readership over the previous quarter, ABP has reported the highest loss in readership, registering an AIR of 59.92 lakh in IRS 2011 Q2. Meanwhile, the second most read daily, Bartaman, has been able to attract readers, adding almost 1.5 lakh readers in the last quarter, taking its AIR to 29.63 lakh in this quarter. Steadily moving ahead, English daily the Telegraph has recorded an AIR of 10.39 lakh, a growth of 1 per cent over the previous quarter.
Other Bengali dailies, including Sangbad Pratidin (AIR 9.58 lakh), Ganashakti (AIR 7.90 lakh) and Aajkal (AIR 6.28 lakh) have witnessed decline in readership over the previous quarter. However, Ganashakti has added 29,000 readers over last year. Meanwhile, The Times of India has registered an AIR of 6 lakh, a decline of 5 per cent over last year. Uttar Banga Sambad has reported an AIR of 5.16 lakh, up by 1 per cent as against last year. On the other hand, Sanmarg and Sambad (Bengali) have had a bad year with decline in readership.
Adding more than a lakh readers, the top three magazines in the state have gained average issue readership over last year. Karmakshetra, with an AIR of 9.16 lakh, is the most read magazine in the state. Karmasangsthaan (AIR 7.38 lakh) and Saptahik Bartaman (AIR 6.12 lakh) have also recorded positive growth in readership. With a year-on-year decline, Sananda has reported an AIR of 4.53 lakh; while ranked fifth, Bengali fortnightly Desh has an AIR of 3.16 lakh, a decline of 3 per cent over last year.