The Readership Studies Council of India (RSCI) and Media Research Users Council (MRUC) on 18 January launched the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2017 Report at a function held in Mumbai. The IRS 2017 Report covered a full year sample of 3,20,000 households – the highest number ever of any readership study in the world.
According to the IRS 2017 Report, total newspaper readership (which includes readers who have read the newspaper in the last one month) increased by 11 crore (110 million) from the previous IRS survey in 2014. Total newspaper readership in 2014 was 29.5 crore (295 million) which in 2017 stands at 40.7 crore (407 million).
Urban readers, according to the 2017 report, were 19.3 crore compared to 15.2 crore in 2014. Rural newspaper readership saw a bigger increase of about 7 crore. Total number of rural readers now stands at 21.4 crore compared to 14.3 crore in 2014. As per the report, across India, 39% of the population (above 12 years of age) read newspapers. In urban India, 53% consumed newspapers while for rural India, the figures stood at 31%.
As expected, the list of the top ten biggest dailies was dominated by regional names with no English newspaper making the cut. The biggest daily in terms of readership was Dainik Jagran in Hindi with a total readership of a little over 7 crore followed by Hindustan in Hindi with a readership figure of about 5.23 crore. In the third place is Amar Ujala also a Hindi daily with total readership of 4.6 crore. Dainik Bhaskar is at fourth place in the IRS Readership 2017 survey with 4.51 crore although it places second in the country in terms of ABC circulation.
The Times of India, which was among the top ten dailies in the previous survey, dropped to 11th position with readership figure of 1.3 crore and was the only English newspaper to feature in the top 20. In the top ten English dailies list, Times of India was followed by Hindustan Times in the second place with readership of 68 lakhs (6.8 million) and The Hindu in the third place with readership of 53 lakhs.
While amongst the Hindi dailies, the top three in readership are Dainik Jagran, Hindustan and Amar Ujala, the top three non-Hindi regional dailies are Daily Thanthi in Tamil with a readership of 2.3 crore, Lokmat in Marathi with a readership of 1.8 crore and Malayala Manorama in Malayalam with a readership of 1.6 crore.
Magazine readership has almost doubled according to the report from 4 crore in IRS 2014 to 7.8 crore in the latest report. Urban areas added 2.2 crore readers while rural India added 1.7 crore readers. India Today in English, India Today in Hindi and Samanya Gyan Darpan in Hindi were the top three most read magazines. Throwing light on the digital space, the IRS 2017 Report said that 4% of India (over 12 year of age) read newspapers online with figures in urban area at 8%.
Commenting on the release of IRS 2017 Report, Ashish Bhasin, chairman, MRUC and chairman and CEO – South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Networks, said, “According to the findings of the Report, 39% of Indians (12+ years) read newspapers, and 20% of all newspaper readers in 50 lakh plus population towns read newspapers online. These numbers most definitely tell us that there is a bright future waiting for the print industry. I’m also hoping that we will now begin to see advertisers and media agencies taking print more seriously. Increased readership numbers for newspapers and magazines will pave the way for publishers to increase their revenues, which would in turn help increase the size of print as a medium.”
Note: 1 crore = 10 million; and 1 lakh = 100,000.