IRS 2019 Q3: Top dailies & magazines perform consistently, print puts up a good show

Print has held its own against digital mainly due to the credibility it provides the readers, say experts

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Jan 22, 2020 1:00 PM



Print media in India has consistently held on to its market share throughout 2019 and the third quarter report of the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) maintains the stead. There has been no major drop in readership of the top dailies or magazines, in both English and the vernacular languages.

The IRS report, which gives out the list of top dailies and magazines, shows once again that print is holding its own, despite the continuous onslaught of the digital industry.

All the top players in each of the categories of both dailies and magazines have retained their leadership positions.

In Q2, Dainik Jagran, Hindustan and Dainik Bhaskar occupied the first three spots in the top dailies’ category with readership at 72559000, 52866000 and 52111000 respectively. This time around, according to IRS 2019Q3 data, there is a slight change in positioning. However, the same brands continue to occupy the top three spots. While Dainik Jagran continued its reign at the top, the second and third spots changed places when compared to Q2 data.  Dainik Bhaskar stood at number two followed by Hindustan.

The total readership numbers of the top dailies in Q3 touched 70430000, 52622000 and 51308000 respectively. In English dailies, Times of India was amongst the most read daily. Their TR touched 16986000 from 16126000 in IRS Q2 2019.

Media houses are excited about the numbers and only see it growing in the coming times.

“Print medium continues to grow with its loyal clientele. While digital is growing fast, the growth is happening in addition to the growth of traditional media,” said Raj Jain, CEO, Times Group.

How do big brands like the Times Group balance their print and digital offerings? Does one eat into another’s popularity?

According to Jain, the Times Group that strives to excel in both print and digital, there is no ‘either’ ‘or’'. “We continue to drive both mediums with equal enthusiasm and pace. Both digital and print have their own set of competition and we concentrate on both equally,” he said.

It is interesting how regional also showed steady growth. “If we study numbers closely, it is only regional media that has shown actual growth in numbers. While English and Hindi are concentrating on urban readership, regional is maximizing its reach in rural India,” said a senior official from Lokmat.

Lokmat readership showed a steady rise between Q1, Q2 and Q3. The numbers picked up from 19702000 to 20443000 to 21765000 in Q3.

Mathrubhumi that stayed steady in Kerala and occupied the second spot in most-read dailies in the region is concentrating on innovation to make print more attractive to readers.

“Credibility still makes print more reliable. Fake news circulated on digital is making way for print to be steady in its position. If we observe closely, it is only credible brands that are seeing growth in digital readership. At Mathrubhumi, we are trying to link up print and digital with interesting features like QR codes and others. Newspaper coverage has evolved with more narratives, graphics and much more,” said M V Shreyams Kumar, Joint Managing Director at Mathrubhumi Group.

The group is striving to make print more interactive said M V Shreyams Kumar.  

The survey also released the data for the top magazine where India Today Hindi, as well as English, took the number one spot.

Aroon Purie, Chairman and Editor in Chief, India Today Group said, " I am not surprised with the increase in readership of magazines because I've always believed in the value magazines provide to the reader. They give perspective, are able to address nuances and well designed for ease of reading and navigation. This contrasts with the clutter of digital platforms and sound bytes of broadcasting. Above all, are trusted brands with a legacy of credibility."

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