Rajasthan print market picking up in readership as well as ad sale
As per IRS 2019 Q4, in the Hindi Top Dailies market, Rajasthan is one of the few states where at least one of the top dailies has recorded a surge in Average Issue Readership
Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown had given a body blow to the newspaper industry. But as the nation slowly unlocks, it is the markets of 'Bharat' which is showing a faster recovery than 'India'. In Rajasthan, print media continues to hold as much reach as television, and though the ad rates have fallen, the newspapers are back in the game again.
According to Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2019 Q4, in the Hindi Top Dailies market, Rajasthan is one of the few states where at least one of the top dailies has recorded a surge in Average Issue Readership (AIR).
TOP READS OF RAJASTHAN
Dainik Bhaskar, which had an AIR of 5707 in 2019 Q1, grew to 5765 in Q2, 5851 in Q3, finally touching 6004 in Q4. So, what’s working in their favour? “Dainik Bhaskar’s successful journey in Rajasthan is an outcome of a well-thought editorial strategy that continued to maintain a reader-centric approach, idea-based journalism and knowledge-enriched content which empowered us to surpass the legacy player in terms of total readership (TR-Urban + Rural) and Average Issue Readership (AIR- Urban+Rural),” said Dainik Bhaskar Group Promoter Director Girish Agarwal.
As it turns out, according to Agarwal, Rajasthan is a key market, where interestingly, print and TV share an almost equal reach.
“This makes print a key medium for advertisers. With Dainik Bhaskar attaining leadership in the market, the AIR/TR ratio, a key indicator of a loyal reader base, has improved from 33 per cent to 38 per cent in the last one year. Furthermore, we have gained a considerable lead of 32 per cent over the legacy player in unique readership, which is considered as a reflection of editorial strength and readers’ loyalty. In terms of circulation, we added a feather in our cap, as Dainik Bhaskar achieved leadership position in Rajasthan with almost 16.4 lakh copies in circulation, as per the latest ABC data,” he added.
As per the latest IRS numbers, which is a rolling average of two quarters of 2019 (Nov'18 to Nov'19) and one fresh quarter of 2019 (Dec'19 to Mar'2020), Dainik Bhaskar’s total readership in Q4 stood at close to 1.6 crore, followed by Rajasthan Patrika at 1.5 crore and Dainik Navajyoti at 14 lakh.
In terms of AIR, Dainik Bhaskar was at 60 lakh approximatley and the other two at close to 56 lakh and 3.2 lakh respectively.
Not just Agarwal, other players in the market too are optimistic about recovery in terms of both readership and ad revenues in the coming quarters of the fiscal.
Harsh Chaudhary, Director at the third most read paper in the state Dainik Navajyoti, the dip in numbers in the last quarter was mostly due to misinformation spread by fake news items. “We did our best to educate people how reading newspapers cannot spread the virus and how newspaper companies ensured that the paper that reaches their homes are produced and circulated keeping the best practices of health and hygiene in mind. The readers are now more aware of the situation and getting back their habit to read newspapers in the morning,” Chaudhary said.
WHY PRINT IS A PREFERRED MEDIUM FOR ADVERTISEMENTS IN THE STATE
The reach of newspapers in deep pockets in the state is a big reason why bouncing back would be easier for Rajasthan, said experts.
The seven most important cities in the state Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur, Bikaner are all showing signs of recovering in terms of getting their advertisers back.
“Real estate, education and automobiles are the three biggest advertisers in the state who are returning to the newspapers,” said Atul Jain, Director at state-based advertising and media planning agency Atul Publicity.
According to Dainik Navajyoti promoters, a lot of advertisers are now more focused on print because of the credibility factor of printed news and the flexible rates.
As per sources, newspapers in the state are open to deep discounts to bring back advertisers. The card rate for newspapers in Rajasthan during pre-COVID times was approximately Rs 15,000 per square centimeter and the operating rate was Rs 4,500 for the same measurement. The rates have been bought down by 50 per cent to accommodate the advertiser’s shrinking budget.
Advertisers' confidence in traditional print market is back in Rajasthan, albeit with slashed budgets.
“The ad rates might have gone down due to drop in circulation during the lockdown, but as much as print is dependent on us, we are also dependent on their reach. We continued to advertise even during the lockdown but now we are picking up volumes again as print in Rajasthan gives 100 per cent reach even in the interiors,” said Manoj Mittal, director at Jaipur- based tech start-up Mittsure Technologies.
For advertisers, quality content and the power of printed news is way more impactful than television. “In Rajasthan, people still like their morning read in the newspapers and there is a lot of credibility factor attached to newspapers. And hence, advertisements that come on the papers also share that credibility and has a larger shelf life in the consumer’s mind. We choose the top dailies in the state to reach our clientele in Ajmer, Alwar and Jaipur and as real estate sales pick up, we are also going to go bigger on advertisements in print,” said builder Atma Ram Gupta, Chairman at ARG Group, Jaipur.
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