IRS: Advertisers to increase focus on regional dailies - MV Shreyams Kumar, Mathrubhumi 

MV Shreyams Kumar, Joint Managing Director, Mathrubhumi speaks to exchange4media about the growth of Print, regional publications and predictions for the next year

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Updated: May 6, 2019 8:53 AM

The Indian Readership Survey (IRS) Q1 2019 report has revealed that 1.8 crore readers have been added to the daily readership since IRS 2017. 

Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi has ranked among the top 20 newspapers in the country and has added over 11 lakh readers since IRS 2017. Among the regional publications, Mathrubhumi is the fifth in TR and stands fourth in AIR. Mathrubhumi Arogya Masika has also bagged a spot among the Top 20 magazines in India and has added 4 lakh+ readers since IRS 2017. 

In conversation with exchange4media, MV Shreyams Kumar, Joint Managing Director at Mathrubhumi spoke about IRS Q1 2019, the daily’s readership growth, the group’s projections for next year and more. 

Edited excerpts: 

On Mathrubhumi's ranking and readership rise 

The IRS survey is an important study for us to understand the changing dynamics of our readers. It was also heartening to know that the Print media growth story continues in India and has expanded to 42.5 crore readers. Print is still synonymous with authenticity. Mathrubhumi stands 4th in the regional language space, overall we are among the Top 11 and we have improved by 4 positions. We have been actively involved in various innovative ways in terms of focusing on quality news and relevant information. We have engaged with our readers in the most compelling ways possible to reach out, and this has resulted in a higher growth rate this quarter. 

On growth of Print as per IRS Q1 2019 

In India, print has grown overall and is going strong. This is despite the majority of people moving to digital mediums. It might be astonishing but the credibility and authenticity associated with the medium can be attributed to the upward trend in Print. This medium is one of the most when it comes to reader engagement and reach. In Kerala, there has been over 4.6 per cent growth compared to the last IRS. This speaks for itself. 

Print vs Digital 
I believe integrating a return path through Digital could enable better ROI demonstration to advertisers, linking physical space sales with digital inventory activations (both physical and digital). Interactive concepts and digital couponing will provide increased consumer data. In other words, the print segment needs to evangelise its benefits and strengths as a competitive plank to see growth. A combination of the mediums is going to work, and all these mediums are very strong, especially in Kerala.
On regional language publications    
The readership of regional publications is increasing, if you look at the national average. The IRS Q1 2019 has once again showed growth of print in regional languages, especially in Kerala. This means advertisers will increasingly be looking at opportunities in regional dailies due to their ability to generate hyper-local news content, which creates a direct connect with the target population on various market dynamics and media consumption habits.  

Projections for next year

The year 2018 was a tough one as we dealt with unprecedented floods during Onam that happens to be the largest advertising spending month for Kerala. This year, the readership has shown steady increase. The current financial year is expected to be much better in terms of circulation and revenue as newsprint prices have stabilised. The ongoing elections will also help in advertising growth. E-papers in Kerala are already following the paid subscription model and we hope to monetise readers’ willingness to pay for quality editorial content. Overall, we expect much needed growth in revenue and circulation.  

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