Nov 5, 2008

India - IRS 2008 Review

Noor Fathima Warsia

The Media Research User’s Council (MRUC) has released the Indian Readership Survey 2008 R2 data. At an industry meet on November 4, 2008, where the MRUC discussed various trends and top-line findings of the data, it also informed that it would not give the top ten players in the manner that the MRUC otherwise does. The data would be available with all players for their individual analysis on November 5, 2008. In a media presentation, MRUC has given growth and decline trends in comparison to IRS 2007 R2 for a more “robust derivation”.

The MRUC has shared the numbers of the top players in the various reported languages, further divided into dailies and magazines in this presentation.

There are two points to be noted here. The industry largely looks at the average issue readership (AIR) and not total readership (TR) that MRUC presented in the discussion on November 4. Secondly, even as the MRUC has suggested that a comparison with last year’s figures gives a stronger trend, publications usually compare numbers with the last round (IRS 2008 R1) itself.

The Dailies Scoreboard
The dailies top-line findings show that even as The Times of India leads the English dailies with a total readership of 133.4 lakh, last year, this figure was at 134.8 lakh readers. Hindustan Times is second with a total readership of 63.5 lakh, which is an increase from the 60.9 lakh last year. The third place is taken by The Hindu (52.5 lakh in IRS 2007 R2 and 52.8 lakh in the latest round), followed by The Telegraph (29 lakh, as opposed to the 30 lakh last year), and Deccan Chronicle (28 lakh from the 30 lakh last year).

Among Hindi dailies, as usual, the charts are dominated by Dainik Jagran and Dainik Bhaskar. Both publications have shown an increase in comparison to their readership numbers of last year. Jagran has grown to 557.4 lakh and last year this number was at 536.1 lakh readers. Bhaskar has grown from 305.8 lakh readers to 338.3 lakh total readers. The increase trend has continued for the next three players too. Amar Ujala has increased from 282.2 lakh to 293.8 lakh; Hindustan has grown from 235.3 lakh to 266.3 lakh, and Rajasthan Patrika has grown from 131.9 lakh to 140 lakh.

Asomiya Pratidin and Dainik Agradoot are the leading Assamese publications. Both have shown a drop in readership and are currently at 60.2 lakh and 32.8 lakh from 65.9 lakh readers and 39.8 lakh readers, respectively. Bengali publications Ananda Bazar Patrika (down from 157.5 lakh to 153.9 lakh) and Bartaman (down from 87.6 lakh to 84 lakh) are the domain leaders.

Gujarati dailies readership has seen growth from the last year. Gujarat Samachar and Sandesh are the top two players, and both have grown. Gujarat Samachar has grown from 84.7 lakh readers to 87.4 lakh readers, while Sandesh has grown from 63.6 lakh readers to 65.3 lakh readers.

Vijay Karnataka continues its lead among Kannada publications, but has dropped from the 99.4 lakh readers last year to 92.2 lakh in R2. Prajavani follows and has seen a decline from 66.4 lakh to 58.3 lakh readers. Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi lead among Malayalam publications. Though they have both declined – Malayala Manorama is now at 121.8 lakh from 129.1 lakh readers, and Mathrubhumi is at 97.1 lakh from 105 lakh readers. Lokmat is the largest read Marathi daily, but it too has dropped from 206.6 lakh readers to 199.3 lakh readers. Daily Sakal follows, and has dropped from 125.6 lakh to 116.3 lakh.

Daily Thanthi has dropped from 208.8 lakh readers to 205.6 lakh readers. On the other hand, Dinakaran has increased from 160.8 lakh readers to 168.3 lakh readers. These are the top two Tamil players.

The top two Telugu players are Eenadu and Andhra Jyothi. Both have shown increase in their total readership and are at 144.1 lakh and 68.1 lakh from 142.2 lakh and 56.8 lakh, respectively.

The Magazine Trends
Among English magazines, India Today leads with a total readership figure of 68.5 lakh in IRS 2008 R2. However, last year, this figure was at 71.3 lakh. The second highest read in this segment is Readers Digest, which has shown a drop in its total readership from 49.3 lakh in IRS 2007 R2 to 40 lakh. General Knowledge Today at No. 3 has dropped from 43.7 lakh readers last year to 35.2 lakh readers this year. Competition Success Review has dipped from 32.9 lakh readers to 26.8 lakh this year. Stardust takes the fifth place, and has dropped from 26.6 lakh readers to 19.2 lakh.

Among Hindi publications, Saras Salil leads with a total readership figure of 84.6 lakh. Last year, this number stood at 106.4 lakh. India Today Hindi, too, has dropped from a total readership figure of 69.7 lakh to 58.1 lakh. Meri Saheli has declined from 62.4 lakh to 54.5 lakh. Cricket Samrat, which is at No. 4, too, has declined from 51 lakh to 47.9 lakh. The only exception here is Pratiyogita Darpan, which has seen an increase from 41.2 lakh to 43.6 lakh.

Looking at some of the other language readership top-line numbers, Sananda and Anandalok are the top two players among Bengali publications. Both have dropped in readership and are currently at 19.5 lakh from 21.9 lakh and 17 lakh from 18.5 lakh readers, respectively.

Chitralekha and Griha Shobha, leaders in Gujarati magazines, too, have dropped and are at 4.5 lakh (a drop from 6.4 lakh in the last year) and 3.4 lakh (a drop from 4.3 lakh in the last year), respectively. Among Marathi magazines, Griha Shobha is the most read with a readership of 14.8 lakh (a drop from 18 lakh in the last year), while Saptahik Sakal follows with 7 lakh readers. This is a drop from the 9.7 lakh readers it had last year