We have seen nearly 11% growth in readership in Pune: Karan Darda, Lokmat Media Group

Karan Darda, Executive Director, Lokmat Media Group explains why the generation of quarterly IRS reports will be a good move

by Moumita Bhattacharjee
Published - May 15, 2019 9:23 AM Updated: May 15, 2019 9:23 AM
Karan Darda

Lokmat topped the list of top 5 dailies from the West region with 19691, 000 TR in the recently released IRS Q1 2019. It’s a marked improvement from IRS 2017 which was 18066, 000 TR. Lokmat also saw a rise in AIR since the last report. It had recorded 5963, 000 AIR in 2017, which rose to 6085, 000 AIR in 2019.

Speaking to exchange4media, Karan Darda, Executive Director, Lokmat Media Group, revealed that the daily has seen more than 9% increase in its total readership across the group.

Excerpts:

Lokmat has retained its top position from IRS 2017 to IRS 2019 among the Marathi newspapers. What do you think helped Lokmat secure that position this year too?

Lokmat has been consistently focussing on its readers and understands their pulse and changing tastes. As a group, we have over 50 edition splits and that has given us a phenomenal ability to be hyper-local. Added to that, our reporter base and a circulation of over 20 lac copies every day, is what has been making us the undisputed Number One newspaper in Maharashtra over the years. 

The IRS 2017 which came out after a gap of 4 years emphasized our leadership position in Maharashtra and the 2019 IRS reaffirms the same. What has been heartening to note is that the 2019 IRS continues to showcase our leadership and strength in Pune, where we have continued to be the No 1 newspaper of any language. Our policy of unwavering integrity in our reportage, a laser focus on Mantra of “ Patrakarita Parmo Dharma ”, and the sustained efforts at the editorial, product and circulation levels to connect with audiences across age and gender has allowed us to be the No 1 across almost all districts and towns in Maharashtra.

What kind of readership rise have you seen in this time period?

The IRS 2019/Q1 is a very positive story for overall print. Lokmat has seen more than a 9 % increase in its total readership across the group.  The group now has a total readership of over 2.36 Cr readers and ranks 6th read publications in India. In fact, in markets like Pune where we had established leadership in IRS 2017, we have seen even higher growth in readership to the tune of close to 11%. Similarly, Kolhapur and Mumbai have been markets where we have witnessed growth close to 13% and 14% respectively.

Has there been a growth in the ad revenue from IRS'17 to IRS '19 Q1?

Lokmat has witnessed growth in its revenues ahead of the industry curve. In the last couple of years, the industry has battled the impact of various headwinds like RERA, GST In specific sectors, the slowdown in demand especially in the Auto sector, etc. Lokmat has been able to continue to grow during these phases as well.

How much of this readership actually translates into a rise in advertising revenues?

Every reader is important to an advertiser basis their specific TG requirements. Today Lokmat provides the most cost-efficient solution along with a very high level of engagement scores for its advertisers in the Maharashtra market. Lokmat has a 120% lead over its nearest competitor across the state in terms of its AIR and this is reflected in its advertising revenues as well.

Your views on the IRS'19 Q1 report paving the way for quarterly reports and how that will help the publication?

Generation of quarterly reports will be a good measure for the industry as a whole as it will provide advertisers with an apple to apple comparison between various media options. If we were to compare Television works on a weekly reporting system and that allows advertisers to keep tweaking their mix amongst programming on an almost fortnightly basis. I think a quarterly system of gauging print reach and effectiveness will give advertisers the confidence to look at print more favorable and actually move monies across mediums depending upon their reach and efficiency requirements. Also with the new TRAI guidelines, the television industry rating system is going through major changes and if Print publishers can provide robust and timely reports through IRS on a quarterly basis it will help the industry regain its sheen with advertisers.

 

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