The Indian Readership Survey (IRS) Round 2, 2005 has shown some interesting trends as far as business publications are concerned. Unlike what has been seen in various surveys so far, business dailies have dropped in this round. Interestingly, business magazines defy the trend that magazines as a category are seeing and have grown.
IRS 2005 R–2 shows that in business dailies, while the leader The Economic Times (ET) maintains its top slot, it has dropped by 5 per cent with a readership of 906,000. Business Standard, which, too, has dropped by 5 per cent, has a readership of 101,000, while Financial Express, which has dropped by 28 per cent, has a current readership figure of 87,000.
The only business daily to see an increase is Hindu Business Line (HBL), which is the current number two business daily with a readership 168,000 – indicating a 13 per cent jump for the publication. In all, business dailies have done well in this round.
Giving a reason behind the trend, Nikhil Rangnekar, Media Director, Starcom, said, “My understanding is that dailies would be read by the cream audience. It is difficult to get this kind of audience in the sample survey, too, so the dip could be a function of that. Also, this is the kind of audience that has other mediums also available to them for information. Even though newspaper reading will be newspaper reading and it is difficult to change that habit, alternative mediums, too, might have a role to play in the fall of papers.”
Kunal Jamuar, Associate Vice-President, Insight, added, “What worked in HBL’s favour was the addition of more editions, which pushed up its readership. One would have expected more, given the boom in the stock market. So, there is disappointment there, which can be attributed to the fact that no other paper except HBL has increased its geographical area of operations.”
“Moreover, in-depth analysis is available via other mediums like the Internet, television and so on – channels that have picked viewers in the two-tier and three-tier towns, where business publications aren’t available. On the other hand, magazines are present in such areas,” Jamuar noted.
Where newspapers have dipped, magazines have picked up in readership. Consequently, Business Today, the leader in the segment, has grown by 5 per cent and has a current readership of 754,000. The No. 2 player, Business India, is static at a readership of 571,000. Business World has grown by 3 per cent with a readership of 374,000.
The publications that have seen a drop include Outlook Money, which has dipped by 4 per cent and has a readership of 280,000, and Capital Market, which has dipped by 8 per cent and is at 108,000. However, the smallest player in this segment, Dalal Street, Investment Journal (readership of 76,000) has grown by 9 per cent.
According to Jamuar, “The younger audience that magazines are getting now due to the inclusion of case studies and the basic change in the premise of presenting a reader’s perspective has led to this increase in magazine readership. Also, magazines are becoming more and more specialist in nature – niche magazines will find their niches and stick with them. People interested in business will pick a business magazine.”
“The readership of magazines would not be that niche,” Rangnekar said, adding, “Even other sections like students and junior executives in organisations read magazines to be aware of the trends in the corporate world.”