Exactly one month ago the war between two major dailies The Times of India and Hindustan Times started over IRS numbers. The entire media fraternity witnessed a spat of claims and counter claims between both the players challenging their own supremacy in Delhi-NCR.
But now, Audit Bureau of Circulation, an agency which surveys the circulation of various print publications, released their latest data for the period of January to June 2014.
It suggests the numbers are in favour of Hindustan Times. The figure suggest that HT has a circulation of 9,55,814 while TOI has 8,79,614. As per the result, HT has 76,200 more circulated copies than TOI.
On the other hand data also shows that both the newspapers have seen overall decline in their circulation figures. The previous survey showed for Hindustan Times that the total number of circulated copies was 1,073,403 which came down to 1,17,589 copies. The Times of India numbers also declined in this current survey of ABC. TOI showed 1,041,524 copies in the previous survey and now they have declined to 1,61,910 copies.
It can be certainly deduced that the print war between both the players is not coming to an end any time soon. With the blame game of ‘moaning challenge’ and ‘crying baby’ may take another turn as ABC numbers suggest who the leader is in Delhi as far as circulation goes.
Last month, Times of India published an advertisement that read ‘The Truth shall prevail. Especially at 6am.’ The ad further read ‘You may have read some claims and counter claims about readership and circulation of English dailies in Delhi and NCR. But the truth simply is: for the ‘regular’ copies of the TOI and HT (i.e. fully loaded copies that carry supplements and are listed in ABC as single or combo) TOI is 38% ahead of HT.
The ad further invited readers to get a firsthand experience of the newspaper’s leadership by taking up the Times of India challenge, by contacting the TOI and visiting a newspaper depot.
In response to that, HT replied with a scathing piece where without naming names, the newspaper carried an article about an alleged case of 'missing copies', “Whodunit: Removing HT market copies to win ‘morning challenge’?” was the national daily's salvo in the ongoing battle with The Times of India, which had earlier challenged the HT circulation figures by launching an advertiser's initiative.
ABC figures show the circulation aspect of the war and it will be interesting to see what the upcoming IRS has to say.