New Delhi: The top 10 English newspapers added 123,000 readers in the latest round of the readership survey conducted by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) in collaboration with Hansa Research.
Among the biggest beneficiaries in the Indian Readership Survey, or IRS, are English language dailies that are strong in different regions—the south-based The New Indian Express saw its readership grow by 41,000 in this quarter. The Tribune, with its stranglehold over Punjab and Haryana, was up by 39,000. The Times of India from Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd also gained 36,000 readers.
The reader numbers are determined by the average issue readership, which is defined as the number of readers of a publication within its periodicity, i.e., last read a daily yesterday, a weekly within the last week, or a monthly within the last month.
All except three newspapers among the top 10 English dailies—the Mumbai Mirror, Deccan Chronicle and The Hindu —have seen their readership grow. Mumbai Mirror lost 26,000 readers.
“Growth in English dailies’ readership is a good sign. It shows that more and more people are getting in to genre reading. We were anticipating a higher number of users to switch to digital, so the numbers are positive,” said Ashish Pherwani, associate director at consultancy firm Ernst and Young India Pvt. Ltd.
Among Hindi newspapers, the rankings remained unchanged with market leader Dainik Jagran showing a marginal increment of 2,000 readers. Hindustan, the Hindi daily of Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd, a subsidiary of HT Media Ltd that publishes Mint and Hindustan Times, saw a jump of 1,12,000 in readership over the last quarter.
The total readership figure for the newspaper now stands at 3.84 crore, according to a company release.
“The gains are a result of an aggressive expansion spree resulting in a pan-UP and Uttarakhand footprint with 12 editions covering the two states. With the launch of Aligarh edition in November 2011 and Moradabad edition in February 2012, the growth momentum in readership continues,” the release said.
Three Hindi dailies showed a dip in readership numbers. Dainik Bhaskar (ranked No. 2) dropped by 49,000, while Amar Ujala (ranked No. 4) saw a significant drop of 1,49,000 and Rajasthan Patrika (ranked No. 5) lost 40,000 readers.
Sanjeev Kotnala, vice-president at Dainik Bhaskar Group, dismissed the loss in readership numbers. “Look at our base. It is a no-loss, no-gain situation. We are happy to see our advertising growing.” He added that the IRS numbers were stable and regional publications were growing and consolidating their readership.
Across English business papers, The Hindu Business Line saw the maximum jump in readership numbers as it added 16,000 readers to its existing base.
The Economic Times from Bennett, Coleman, which continues to lead the business dailies segment, added 2,000 readers to 7,92,000, while the numbers for Mint, the second largest business daily, fell 12,000 to 246,000 and Business Standard declined from 1,62,000 to 1,58,000.
“Such fluctuation in print media readership does not affect advertising in the short and medium terms as newspapers and magazines do not change their advertising rates frequently, unlike television channels that increase their commercial rates within a couple of weeks of the rating going up,” said Sudha Natarajan, the outgoing chief executive officer of Lintas Initiative Media, the full-service media and digital arm of the Lintas media group.