As Punjab newspapers grow, Dainik Savera struggles with falling readership

Experts say that the media house has failed to adjust to the challenge posed by its plummeting readership base

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Jun 26, 2020 9:04 AM  | 4 min read

If we look at the last four quarters of IRS numbers, newspaper brands in Punjab have largely registered a growth graph, both in terms of TR and AIR.

For instance, Punjab Kesari, the leading newspaper in the region, has seen consistent growth in their AIR numbers. From an AIR of 9,36,000 in IRS 2019 Q1, the newspaper has grown to an AIR of 9,50,000 in Q3, and despite Covid-19 it commands an AIR of 8,72,000 in Q4.

Likewise, Dainik Bhaskar has a similar growth story. From a TR of 18,57,000 in Q1, the newspaper has touched a TR of 19,24,000 in Q2 and TR of 21,67,000 in Q3. With regards to Q4, which has been impacted by COVID-19, the newspaper’s TR stands at 20,69,000.

Similarly, its AIR also grew from 4,93,000 to 5,00,000, to 5,96,000, and to an impressive 6,34,000 in Q4.

Coming to Dainik Jagran, this newspaper’s total readership has grown from 18,19,000 in Q1 to 19,22,000 in Q2 to 19,71,000 in Q3 and amid covid 19 it stood at 17, 21,000. While AIR for Jagran in the region was 4,46,000 in Q1 and fell marginally to 4,36,000 in Q2 but recovered itself quickly in IRS 2019 Q3 with the AIR touching an all-time high of 4,66,000, and now in COVID-19 it stands at an impressive 4,40,000.

The case of Dainik Savera has become a classic example of what not to do when faced with a twin volley of low readership numbers and a crisis like COVID-19.

We see Dainik Savera’s numbers have been declining. While its Q1 numbers stood at 8,58,000 it witnessed a shift in Q2, Q3 and Q4. It’s AIR, which stood at 3,81,000 in Q3, has come down to 3,61,000 in Q4.

Now if we look at Dainik Savera, we see the numbers have been declining. Its TR Q1 numbers stood at 8,58,000 and witnessed a shift in Q2, Q3 and Q4. The AIR figure, which stood at 3,81,000 in Q3, has come down to 3,61,000 in Q4.

While the numbers do tell a story, there is more to it. If we look at Punjab Kesari, Dainik Bhaskar and Dainik Jagran, they have a significant online presence. The momentary dip in numbers during COVID has not impacted their engagement with their core readership base. All three publications have been agile to adapt to the new world order and have seamlessly managed to re-engage their customers.

On the contrary, Dainik Savera has taken an approach which many experts feel could be the undoing of the brand. Experts say that the media house has failed to adjust to the challenge posed by its plummeting readership base. They say its shift to online is not a strategic move but a knee-jerk response to the ongoing crisis. By failing to adjust to the new readership trend, Dainik Savera risks losing its readership base.

In our quest to understand the unprecedented crisis that has hit Dainik Savera and how the management plans to deal with it, we spoke to Shital Vij who helms the publication and he agreed that its readership has witnessed a massive dip and they are trying to come up with a new strategy.

“Our readership has been impacted because of COVID-19 and now we are trying to build an online presence,” said Vij.

When asked about the low IRS numbers of Dainik Savera in Q4, Vij blamed it squarely on the IRS data and questioned its validity and transparency. He also added that he did not fully understand the IRS way of functioning.

“IRS has its own way of functioning, I don't know what kind of work is happening at IRS,” added Vij.

Asked to comment on the same, IRS TechComm Chairperson Vikram Sakhuja said: “The IRS is based on a sample of 3.3 lakh respondents. We have a validation committee that does a stringent check before release of every round of data. Inevitably, when data is released some publications are not happy with the readership numbers. We allow them to raise concerns and queries which are replied to under the parameters of the design of the study. In cases where rival publications make claims that are questionable, we allow publications to raise complaints which a disciplinary committee deliberates on. IRS enjoys the highest credibility and respect amongst the Publisher, Agency and Advertiser ecosystem. If any member is disgruntled we are more than willing to engage. Our only request is that if the numbers are not to your liking, please don’t shoot the messenger.”

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