Dainik Jagran is India’s most read daily

Of the print news media in India, Dainik Jagran in Hindii is one of the highest circulated daily newspapers
Of the print news media in India, Dainik Jagran in Hindii is one of the highest circulated daily newspapers

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.

Table 1

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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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