The increasing urbanisation and the change in demographics could well be the reason for a trend that shows increase in circulation but decline in readership. If urbanisation is what has led to this, one would argue that magazines as a genre, given the specialised nature of their content, would see an increase in readership. However, according to the IRS 2009 R2, just like in the various previous rounds, magazines have taken a hit.
Three of the Top 5 magazines drop in AIR
A closer look at the magazine scenario shows that 13 out of the top 20 magazines have seen a drop in average issue readership (AIR). When one studies the Top 10 magazines of the country closely, it is evident that there still are a substantial number of magazines whose readership is declining. Data shows that seven of the top 10 magazines have negative readership graphs. Overall, one could easily say that about 70 per cent of the magazines are seeing a decline.
Amongst the top five publications, Vanitha leads with a growth of almost 11 per cent. The readership of the publication is now at 2,900,000. Malayala Manorama, which is at No. 5 spot, has grown by almost 15 per cent. The publication’s AIR is at 1,609,000. On the other hand, Saras Salil, India’s No 1 magazine according to total readership, has seen a steep decline in its AIR of almost 15 per cent. India Today English (1,878,000) as well as Pratiyogita Darpan (1,676,000) have both seen a drop in AIR at -3.94 per cent and -0.83 per cent, respectively.
Four of the next five decline
Going further down the list, four amongst the next five publications, occupying the No 6 to No 10 positions, have seen a decline. Balarama, which is ranked sixth, is the only one to have seen a 5 per cent growth in its AIR. Tamil magazine Kumudam and India Today Hindi have both seen a drop of 6.72 per cent and 6.49 per cent, respectively, in their AIR.
Grih Shobha, which is at No 9 with an AIR of 1,330,000, has registered a marginal decline of 0.75 per cent, while Reader’s Digest, too, has dropped from 1,327,000 to 1,317,000, a marginal drop of 0.75 per cent.
Decline trend continues in lower order
Looking at the magazines in positions No 11 to No 15, Meri Saheli on number 11 has grown by 0.49 per cent, while Grehlakshmi (on number 14) has seen a 10.55 per cent growth. Anand Vikatan, which is at the No. 12 spot, has seen a drop of 10.51 per cent in its AIR. Cricket Samrat has seen a drop of 8.90 per cent in its AIR, while General Knowledge Today and Mathrubhumi Arogya Masika, too, have dropped by 4.37 per cent and 1.23 per cent, respectively.
Mangalam, placed at No 20, has seen the maximum growth in average issue readership at 41.56 per cent. Mathrubhumi Thozhil Vartha (on number 16) has seen a growth of 23.07 per cent, while Grihalakshmi at number 21 has seen a 5.34 per cent growth. Kungumam, on the other hand, has seen a drop of 17.21 per cent, which is the highest drop in AIR among the top 20 magazines, while Nirogdham has seen a 5.60 per cent drop.
From the information acquired, it is evident that even though all of these publications have been doing particularly well in each of their regions and even nationally, readership figures tend to drop with every round of figures. Where and how can one fix this trend is something to look out for.