The Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2005 Round 2 throws interesting factors about media reach and growth in India. In addition, the top line shows an increase in literacy and a falling readership in the upper SECs. Language readership trends show an increase in Tamil readership and drop in Malayalam.
At the all India level, illiteracy has dropped to 34.6 per cent from 36.6 per cent. Even though the urban areas see an increase in literacy rate, the drop in illiteracy rates is largely seen in the rural areas, where it has gone down to 41.6 per cent from 44 per cent.
As gar as growth in media is concerned, at an all India level, the study shows 6 per cent growth in print giving it a reach of 24 per cent, which is a growth of 3 per cent for the medium. The growth in the sector has been fuelled largely by newspaper growth.
Commenting on this Hasna Research’s Marketing Head, Sudharshan, said, “Magazines have seen a decline on the whole, while newspapers continue to see an increase. The segment has grown on the whole due to newspapers.”
As per the study, dailies have grown by 3.7 per cent, but weeklies and fortnightlies have dropped by 5.3 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively. Monthly magazines have neither seen an increase or a decrease.
Looking at language wise growth, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi and Telugu papers have grown. Tamil has grown the highest at 9.5 per cent, Kannada and Marathi are at 7.7 per cent and 7.4 per cent, respectively, while Telugu has grown by 6.3 per cent. Other languages like Gujarati, Bengali, Assamese, Punjabi, Urdu and Oriya have neither grown nor fallen, while Malayalam has fallen by 8.7 per cent.
Further explaining the fall in readership of the upper SECs, Sudharshan said, “We have been seeing this trend for a while now. This can be largely attributed to the fact that other media has grown in these segments. There is Internet penetration. They consume TV for more than just entertainment, plus this is a socially active class – increasingly they are looking at other mediums as their source of information.”
The findings show that television reach has increased by 5.8 per cent, giving the medium a 42 per cent reach. C&S households have also increased by 14.6 per cent – in all giving it a 22.7 per cent reach. The C&S growth is pushed by the rural markets, which have registered a 23.7 per cent increase.
FM channels have shown the most significant growth of 13 per cent followed by cable and satellite. The growth of FM is largely contributed by the smaller markets. The 7 per cent growth in top metros is much below the overall growth of 13 per cent. The growth of FM radio is the most significant in mini metros, and much above the population growth.
Cinema continues to decline. At an urban level, the trend is fairly similar.
The exception is the rate of growth of the Internet, which is much below the average growth of population as well as the all India growth of the medium – implying that rural is contributing to the growth of the Internet quite significantly.
In major metros, except cinema, all media has shown a positive and balanced growth – no skews observed. The C&S growth is in line with the population growth.