IRS Q1 2019: Print is a trustworthy entity for consumers, says Raj Jain, CEO, Times Group

The Indian Readership Survey figures will have a beneficial impact on the attractiveness of Print and thereby revenues, Jain, CEO, Times Group tells exchange4media

Raj Jain

The Indian Readership Survey Q1 2019 has revealed that The Times of India has recorded a staggering growth of 17 per cent on an already massive base, adding 2.2 million in total readership to reach 15.2 million in the first quarter of 2019. 
 

TOI has retained its number one position among English daily newspapers.  We spoke to Raj Jain, CEO, Times Group, about the newly released data, the Digital vs Print battle, revenue growth, the strategy to keep the number steady and more.
 

Edited excerpts:
 

The IRS numbers are encouraging for print. Do you have a strategy to keep the numbers steady?
The IRS data particularly for TOI shows an increase in female readership and readers below 29 years. We have been assiduously wooing this segment and the efforts have paid off. We hope to continue in our efforts to make multiple readership the key to growth.

 

The Digital vs Print battle has been on for some time now and your brand leads in both. Do you have any in-house preference? Does any medium get an upper hand? 
The Times Group has a large Digital presence too and hence we are media agnostic. We like to offer solutions to our advertisers which work for them, not necessarily what we prefer ourselves. Having several options, including Out of Home, Radio and TV, help in creating the right media plan for our customers.  

 

Hindustan Times data is not available as part of the IRS numbers. You think their numbers would affect your ranking?
We are not quite sure about the reasons for their results being held back. I am sure the vigilance and disciplinary committee is looking into the matter. I don’t think rankings will change. TOI will continue to be by far the leader in English print, and ET the same in business news.

 

Many consider AIR more important than TR. What do you think?
Typically, media other than print is evaluated on the basis of ‘consumed in the last 30 days’ and it is important to evaluate the value of print at a comparative level through TR. However, being a daily product the true efficacy of print is calculated through AIR. For a savvy planner, both the readings are important.

 

Have the advertising sales increased with increase in readership? Is it translating into big revenue for print at BCCL?
The results are out now. We have the task of going out to the market to convince advertisers about the efficacy of print in the context of the new data. I am quite sure it will have a beneficial impact on the attractiveness of print and thereby, revenues.

 

Tell us about the revenue growth in the last few years. How do you think the Print revenue will fare against the Digital growth in the years to come?
The consumer today is an avid user of all media. All mediums play specific roles in her/his life. We have recognised this early on and our strategy to tap the consumer at every level is paying off.

 

How does the recent campaign ‘Print is Proof’ about fake news on social media vs credibility of print help?
Print is the only news medium that has the luxury of curating and validating the news overnight. All other news media is in the business of breaking news. It is for this reason that print is a valuable and trustworthy entity in the consumer’s life. As an industry, we have resolved to educate the market on the specific advantages the newspaper has as a medium. 

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