Times of India widens gap, leads HT by 2.9L in Delhi-NCR readership

IRS survey for Q4 of 2019

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Times of India leads HT by 2.9L in Delhi-NCR readership

The Times of India remains the dominant market leader among English dailies with its total readership of over 1.73 crore, almost equal to the combined readership of the three biggest dailies outside the Times Group – The Hindu, Hindustan Times and The Indian Express. This has emerged from the just released Indian Readership Survey for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2019.

The data shows that while readership of all English dailies rose by 5.9 lakh over the previous quarter, this was mainly driven by a 3.6 lakh-rise in the readership of the TOI main paper. The share of group publications (The Economic Times and Mirrors besides TOI) among English dailies continued to grow to reach 52.6%.

The all-India dominance is also reflected in the country’s largest cities. In almost every case, the TOI main paper has either consolidated its leadership and widened the gap with its closest rival or, in the few cities where it is not the leader, it has narrowed the gap with the leader. In Delhi and its satellite cities, TOI’s lead of 92,000 readers in the third quarter has widened massively to 2.9 lakh readers in Q4.

In Mumbai, the paper’s readership has increased by 1.2 lakh to 28.9 lakh, giving it a clear 8.5 lakh more than HT’s 20.4 lakh. In Bengaluru, the lead over Deccan Herald, which was 6.6 lakh just a quarter ago, has now reached 7.3 lakh.

No real competition for TOI in Ahmedabad, Pune, Lucknow

TOI’s readership of 13.6 lakh in India’s Silicon Valley is over twice as large as Deccan Herald’s 6.3 lakh. Indeed, the closest rival to TOI in Bangalore now is Bangalore Mirror, a group publication.In Pune and Ahmedabad, TOI has had no real competition for quite some time now and that remains the case. In Jaipur and Lucknow too, TOI has no rivals to speak of. In Kolkata, TOI gained 7% readers and narrowed the gap between itself and The Telegraph from 81,000 readers to 48,000 over just this one quarter.

In Chennai too, while TOI continues to lead over The Hindu readers on average issue readership, the gap with The Hindu on total readership has also reduced by 4,000 readers during Q4, while in Hyderabad, Deccan Chronicle’s lead was cut by 6,000 readers over this period.

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.

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– Naresh Khanna

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