It’s not really good news for most publications given the fall, though marginal, in readership that the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2006 R 1 has thrown up. In case of English publications, the trend is no different. Though on the whole any English daily readership has shown an increase from the 17,396,000 of the last round to 17,435,000 in IRS 2006 R 1, when seen closely, most English dailies like The Times of India (TOI) and Hindustan Times (HT) have registered a fall. The Hindu has, however, bucked the trend. In English magazines all have declined.
Looking at some of the readership numbers of the general interest dailies – TOI has dropped from 72.87 lakh to 70.84 lakh. HT has come down to 35.08 lakh from the 35.21 lakh readership in the previous round. The Hindu holds the third position among English dailies. Unlike its competitors, The Hindu has managed to grow its base even if marginally – from 27.87 lakh to 27.97 lakh. There is good news for Deccan Chronicle as well – the publication has grown from 10.14 lakh to its current 11.32 lakh readership.
The Telegraph is the fifth largest English daily and has seen a decline in readership by 67,000, bringing it to its current 10.82 lakh readership. Mumbai’s reigning tabloid, Mid Day, too, has seen a drop and is at 7.37 lakh from 7.76 lakh in the previous round. Deccan Herald, too, has dropped and is at 6.04 lakh from 6.51 lakh, and given the drop in Indian Express’ readership, which is down to 5.65 lakh from 6.42 lakh – the gap between the two has widened.
The Tribune has managed to hold its ground and currently has a readership of 4.83 lakh, which is 2,000 more than the previous round. The Statesman continues the decline trend, where it is at 4.22 lakh from 4.93 lakh. Assam Tribune follows with a drop by 21,000 to be at 3.45 lakh. The likes of Hitavada, Nagpur (1.48 lakh), Navhind Times (1.47 lakh), Herald (97,000), and Afternoon Despatch & Courier have all seen fall in readerships.
In the English magazines section, the news isn’t so good either given that every magazine has seen a fall in readership. The leader in the section, India Today, has dropped by 10 per cent, from 38.99 lakh to 35.09 lakh. Sister concern – Reader’s Digest – too has seen a 12 per cent fall and is at 23.06 lakh from 26.37 lakh. GK Today has dropped from 23.4 lakh to 22.14 lakh readership. Another strong player, Competition Success Review, has also dropped by 16 per cent and is currently at 17.3 lakh.
Filmfare has seen one the steepest falls among English magazines, its readership fell 21 per cent to 16.71 lakh. Outlook has dropped by 11 per cent and is at 11.44 lakh. Stardust, too, has dropped and is currently at 10.95 lakh in comparison to the 13.11 lakh in the previous round. Wisdom and The Week have dropped by 6 per cent and 10 per cent, bringing them to 10.31 lakh and 8.67 lakh, respectively.
From general interest magazines to women’s magazines – Femina, Women’s Era, Cosmopolitan, New Woman, Elle and Savvy – to special interest titles like The Sportstar, Auto India, Overdrive, Outlook Traveller, Capital Market, Living Digital, all have seen a dip in readership, with some titles like PC Quest and Junior Science Refresher dropping by almost 23 per cent.
IRS has definitely brought some disturbing news for all English magazines, given that the trend doesn’t bring loyalty to even special interest titles, which many media experts thought was the way to go for magazines.