Magazine readership grows as much as newspaper readership

IRS Q1 2019 – The incredible Indian Readership Survey

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Mathrubhumi store at Kochi airport
Mathrubhumi store at Kochi airport

The findings of the Indian Readership Survey Q1 2019 revealed that 1.8 crore readers have been added to the daily readership of newspaper and magazines from IRS 2017. Half of the readers added 0.9 crore (9 million) are magazine readers.

As per the IRS’19 Q1 data released by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC), the Indian print industry which has commissioned the research claims that it is growing. Both newspapers and magazines are growing faster in regional languages than in English. A closer look indicates that perhaps magazine which are perhaps fewer in their actual print quantities (circulations) have achieved an equal increase in readership over the past two years since the last IRS survey – both newspapers and magazines have added 9 million readers over the two years.

More regional language magazines are amongst the fastest growing 20 magazines in readership. The total readership of magazines according to the IRS 19 is 8.7 crore. (87 million) Between IRS17 and IRS19 Q1, urban magazine readers have grown by 13% to 4.9 crore readers (49 million) as opposed to 12% growth in the previous survey. IRS17 reported 4.5 crore (45 million) magazine readers. The 5% growth in rural readership to 3.8 crore (38 million) remains the same. Rural magazine readership was reported at 3.4 crore (34 million) in IRS’17.

The top ranking magazine with a 91.52 lakhs or (9.152 million) readership is India Today (English) reporting considerable growth from its IRS17 readership figure of 79.92 lakhs or 7.992 million readers. The second magazine in the list new list is India Today (Hindi) with a readership rate of 77.12 lakh as opposed to 71.59 lakh in IRS17. According to the IRS 2019, the two magazines have added 17.1 lakh (1.71 million) readers in the past two years

Samanya Gyan Darpan in Hindi is the third-ranking magazine with a readership rate of 7.495 million as opposed to 6.882 million two years ago. Vanitha in Malayalam ranks fourth with a readership of 7.028 million as opposed to 6.126 million in IRS17. Pratiyogita Darpan (Hindi) is reported at 6.418 million readers for IRS19 Q1 while in IRS17 its readership was 5.924 million.

The other 15 magazine in the IRS19 top 20 list include Meri Saheli in Hindi, Bal Bhaskar in Hindi, General Knowledge Today in English, Champak in Hindi, The Sportstar in English, Ananda Vikatan in Tamil, Sarita in Hindi, Diamond Cricket Today in Hindi, Cricket Samrat in Hindi, Diamond Cricket Today in English, Grih Shobha in Hindi, Filmfare in English, Mathrubhumi Arogya Masika in Malayalam and Kumudum in Tamil.

The new IRS’19 Q1 data has apparently introduced quarterly data collection and reporting. As far as the ratio of actual print circulation to average monthly readership our estimate is that it varies from 16 readers per copy to 45 readers per copy and could be as high as 100 to 1. In any case most if not all media planners by and large ignore the current IRS data.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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