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IRS 2009 R1: Hindi belt dailies ride the growth and decline curve

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IRS 2009 R1: Hindi belt dailies ride the growth and decline curve

In an attempt to go beyond the analysis of topline data, in association with media analysis firm Stratagem Media presents IRS 2009 R1 INSIGHT. Today's Insight focuses on the Hindi Belt dailies. Reported by Cassandra Serpes. Data analysis by Stratagem Media.


National advertisers generally consider the Hindi belt to be one market, given the homogeneity of language and culture. But from the media point of view, is the market homogenous? Has the desire to dominate the largest audience in the country, led to some degree of media heterogeneity/ segmentation? How has the historical supremacy of different players over different geographies translated into their current position in this vast market, which represents nearly half (47 per cent) of the country’s adult population?

Scope and Methodology:

Today’s feature of ‘IRS 2009 R1 Insight’, compares lead players in the Hindi Belt, across demographics.

The composition of the Hindi belt includes Delhi, Punjab/ Haryana/ Chandigarh/ Himachal, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh/ Uttaranchal, Bihar/ Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. There are as many as 14 titles, each with multiple editions, across various states in the Hindi belt. In order not to make it unwieldy, this analysis has been restricted to the top seven players. Over the last few years, most of these dailies began spreading out in different directions, and hence, by now, the contest has gone beyond mere territorial supremacy.

So, while some difference in quantum of readerships can be expected, let’s examine the quality of readership amongst the top seven players as well as the change in their readerships over the last IRS (2008 R2).

IRS 2009 R1 Topline AIR results for Hindi Belt news dailies

Sighting - Hindi dailies in Delhi:

Navbharat Times leads the Hindi dailies market with an AIR of 1,568,000, which is a 1.9 per cent growth from its last round figures. Hindustan has seen a 14.3 per cent growth in the Delhi market with an AIR of 1,262,000. Punjab Kesari stands third in the market with an AIR of 770,000, which is a 5. 8 per cent growth, while Dainik Jagran has seen a 6.2 per cent increase with an AIR of 615,000. Amar Ujala has seen a 5.1 per cent growth with an AIR of 103,000.

Sighting – Hindi Dailies in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and

Himachal Pradesh:

Dainik Bhaskar has overtaken Punjab Kesari in this round to become the most read daily in this market with an AIR of 2,467,000, which is a 6 per cent growth. Punjab Kesari has dropped 2.4 per cent to an AIR of 2,274,000. Dainik Jagarn has also dropped 4 per cent to an AIR of 1,884,000. Amar Ujala has registered an AIR of 867,000, which again is a 2.3 per cent drop from the last round. Hari Bhoomi has recorded the maximum decline of 16.3 per cent in this market with an AIR of 247,000.

Sighting – Hindi Dailies in UP/ Uttaranchal:

Dainik Jagran leads this market with an AIR of 9,470,000 despite a decline of 2.9 per cent. Amar Ujala also has seen a drop of 2.5 per cent with an AIR of 6,819,000. Hindustan is the only daily among the top five that has seen a 4.4 per cent growth in its AIR figures, which stand at 2,290,000. Aj has declined by 8.2 per cent with an AIR of 752,000, while Rashtriya Sahara has dropped by 9 per cent and has an AIR of 563,000.

Sighting – Hindi Dailies in Madhya Pradesh:

Dainik Bhaskar, although at the top, has seen a drop of 2.1 per cent in its AIR figures, which currently stand at 3,059,000. While most of the publications have seen a dip in numbers, Nai Dunia has seen a huge growth of 21.1 per cent with an AIR of 928,000. Nava Bharat has seen a decline of 1 per cent, while Raj Express has seen a decline of 0.8 per cent with an AIR of 517,000 and 486,000, respectively. Dainik Jagarn is another Hindi daily in this market that has seen a 5.8 per cent growth with an AIR of 458,000.

Sighting – Hindi Dailies in Chattisgarh:

Dainik Bhaskar, the No. 1 player in this market, has seen a 7 per cent drop in its AIR to 1,021,000. Hari Bhoomi, on the other hand, has shown a 6.1 per cent growth with an AIR of 771,000. Nava Bharat has seen a 7.9 per cent drop and has an AIR of 687,000, while Desh Bandhu has dropped 17.6 per cent to an AIR of 56,000. Nai Dunia has registered an AIR of 299,000.

Sighting – Hindi Dailies in Bihar/ Jharkhand:

Hindustan is the market leader here with an AIR of 5,589,000. However, the publication has seen a 3.3 per cent drop as compared to IRS 2008 R2. Dainik Jagaran is the No. 2 daily with an AIR of 3,204,000, a 5 per cent drop. Prabhat Khabar, with an AIR of 1,167,000, has seen a marginal rise of 0.2 per cent. AJ, on the other hand, has seen a steep decline of 25.3 per cent with an AIR of 337,000.

Sighting – Hindi Dailies in Rajasthan:

Rajasthan Patrika still leads in this market with an AIR of 6,538,000. Dainik Bhaskar is next with an AIR of 5,736,000, which is a 1.5 per cent decline. Dainik Navjyoti has an AIR of 402,000, which is a 0.2 per cent growth, while News Today has seen a 30.8 per cent increase in its AIR to 225,000. Daily News has dropped by 5.4 per cent with an AIR of 193,000.

With these figures it is observed that the decline trend, which was seen in the last round (IRS 2008 R2) continues, however, this does not seem to concern the bigger publications, who are not only the market leaders in the Hindi belt, but are also national market leaders.

Sanjeev Kotnala, Associate VP and National Head of Communications, Dainik Bhaskar Group, asserted that the decline was no huge worry for the group. “We have seen an overall decline of just 0.94 per cent, which is no worry to us at all. What is important is that we are one of the market leaders,” he said, adding, “We are the No. 1 paper in most markets and in markets like Rajasthan, where we stand second, we are still the No. 1 paper among the urban cities.”

Despite a number of publications showing decline, there have been a few that have shown growth. Nai Dunia is one that has shown the maximum growth. Vineet Sethia, Director, NaiDunia Media, said, “We are happy with the positive growth that Nai Dunia has registered. This is a result of our painstaking effort that we took in the last one year to improve our product by undertaking a circulation drive and revamping the newspaper in terms of editorial content, looks and making it more interactive. It is encouraging to see that NaiDunia could record a positive growth, especially when most of the top Hindi dailies have seen a drop in readership. We wish the growth continues with our Delhi NCR edition and NavDunia, Bhopal adding up to the readership in the forthcoming rounds.”

Giving insights to the growth and decline in the Hindi Belt, Punitha Arumugam, Group CEO, Madison Media, said that it all depended on the various parameters that one saw as increase or decline. “We see a declining trend simply because it is clear that the younger age-group, which is a large population, is not reading. This is evident by the numbers shown in the IRS. This could possibly be because of the new media coming in, and the cover prices going up. Also, what is important is the cover price mating with the number of pages. Circulation, too, plays an important role. If circulation falls, readership is bound to fall,” she added.

Key Findings:

Very minor variations in rank across demographics are seen. Dainik Bhaskar (DB) lags behind Dainik Jagran (DJ) by 21 per cent in terms of total (U+R) readership, but in the urban part of the Hindi belt, this difference narrows down to just 4 per cent. Punjab Kesari and Navbharat Times (which is predominantly read in Delhi) also close the gap versus their immediate competitors in the urban parts of this market.

In SEC A, DJ’s lead increases marginally over DB and Amar Ujjala (AU), and substantially over Rajasthan Patrika (RP).

In terms of total readership, NbT has shown a significant growth of 4.1 per cent, whereas Hindustan has grown marginally by 0.8 per cent over the last IRS (2008 R2). DJ is seen to have declined by the largest margin of 2.8 per cent.

Amongst these top seven dailies, all except RP are seen to have grown in readership in the most affluent audience of SEC A. The highest gain has been for Hindustan (7.4 per cent), followed by DB with 4.7 per cent. On the other hand, RP has declined by 9.2 per cent.

(Led by Sundeep Nagpal, Stratagem Media Pvt Ltd is an independent media specialist company which provides media buying services to advertisers and ad sales support to leading media houses. For the latter, its range of services includes data analytics, sales / behavioural training and price structuring.)


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