IRS 2019 Q3: Credibility fuels stable growth for magazines

Experts say why credibility and specialised content in the age of digital publishing are key for the growth of magazine readership in India

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Updated: Dec 30, 2019 10:14 AM

The Q3 draft data, which covers readership data gathered between August 2019 to November 2019, released by MRUC shows urban and rural readership of magazines remaining steady. One of the reasons for this steady readership of magazines is the growing demand for credible and contextual news. If we look closely, the dominant conversations in the media space over the past few years has been the credibility of news. With frequent internet shutdowns and growing scepticism with respect to the information on social platforms, magazines seem to have finally found their sweet-spot.

“People are now more aware of pitfalls of fake news, and pickier in terms of what they want to believe, therefore a greater relevance of media brands that have a proven record of credibility and those who follow robust editorial processes. In our own experience, while newsstand circulation has been under strain because of distributional challenges, the drop has been more than compensated by increased subscription sales, especially through online channels,” said Anant Nath, Executive Publisher, Delhi Press, while explaining the growing relevance of magazines.

Nath also believes that since magazines do not compete with breaking news as a primary offering, there is scope to offer specialized content that cannot be easily substituted by digital media outlets where the primary goal is click-baited views.  

“We are known for our depth, research, and nurturing emotional empathy with readers. For these reasons, we foresee a fair degree of stability. and even growth, in our readership and circulation as we lay greater emphasis on our subscription and direct sales efforts”, he added. 

As far as the language press is concerned, in Hindi, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, Amar Ujala, Hindustan and Prabhat Khabar took turns to lead the readership list in various states. 

For regional, Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhoomi, Lokmat, Daily Sakal, Vijay Karnataka, Vijaya Vani Sandesh and Gujarat Samachar have taken the leading positions interchangeably. 

M. V Shreyams Kumar, JMD, Mathrubhumi said that the new IRS data reflects the faith that readers have put in the brand. ”Print media continues to be stable and balanced in its growth trajectory. The report suggests that total reach across media platforms continues to grow. It is a testament of loyalty by our constituents in the brand, now we are beholden to repay by continuously upgrading content.”

“The numbers are definitely encouraging. Vernacular has potential to grow for the next 10 years. In today's times, people don’t know what to believe so they have reposed their trust in the print medium. Also the way vernacular covers local issues no other medium can do, so the growth is here to stay”, stated Aroosh Chopra, Director, Punjab Kesari Group. 

Commenting on the steady growth of language press in the current IRS data, Alok Sanwal, COO, Dainik Jagran INEXT said,  “Print continues to connect with people across the length and breadth of this country like no other medium. The requirement of credible and relevant information is more than ever before. Print ensures the same. For marketers, being a localised medium, print is able to connect with consumers through experiential marketing & micro-targeting the TG with customised communication keeping cultural and geographical nuances in mind."

“It’s true that other mediums are growing but when it comes to ROI linked to sales and conversions, there is no option of language print media & the solutions which language media organisations may offer”, he added.

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