New Delhi: India’s top 10 dailies have shown a marginal growth in readership in the last six months, according to data released by the Mumbai-based Media Research Users Council, or MRUC.
Round two of the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2009 released on Monday showed that the average issue readership (AIR) of just two newspapers in the top 10—the Daily Thanti and Rajasthan Patrika—has declined. All other newspapers in this sample, such as the Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, Hindustan, Malayala Manorama and The Times of India, have seen a growth in readership.
AIR is the estimated number of people who read the paper “yesterday”.
Independent print media consultant A.S. Raghunath said that elections drove readership for newspapers this year.
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However, the readership of most business dailies plunged compared with round one figures released earlier this year. For instance, the AIR of leading business dailies such as The Economic Times (from the Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd stable) and Mint (from HT Media Ltd) has dropped while The Financial Express’ readership has remained static.
In the current round of research, The Economic Times registered a readership of 757,000 people compared with 783,000 estimated during the first round. Offering a reason for the decline, Rahul Kansal, chief marketing officer of Bennett, Coleman publications said: “Despite the signs of recovery, the retail investor reader has still not come back to business papers.”
The current readership of Mint is 159,000 against a figure of 175,000 in round one. Mint is the second most read business daily in India and is followed by Business Standard, The Hindu Business Line and The Financial Express.
Business Line’s current readership is 124,000, while Business Standard has a readership of 148,000. Comparative numbers for Business Standard are not available as the paper was not part of the earlier surveys. Mint has a 25% readership share in the markets where the paper was covered (Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore) in the survey, compared with 6% for the Business Standard.
Raghunath said business newspapers are read more in the office than at home. “Hence it (a business newspaper’s readership) is never captured properly in IRS, which is a household-based survey,” he said.
Among English dailies, The Times of India, also published by Bennett, Coleman, remained No. 1 with a readership figure of 7,142,000. The paper added 270,000 readers. Bennett, Coleman’s Kansal said that the growth has come from the Chennai edition, which was launched in time for round two of IRS field work. The Hindustan Times (published by HT Media) with a readership of 3,347,000, is the second most read English daily and The Hindu, the third.
Among Hindi dailies, the Dainik Jagran retained its No.1 slot and added 24,000 readers. Hindustan, published by HT Media, was ranked No. 3 in terms of AIR and added 33,000 readers.
Graphics by Sandeep Bhatnagar / Mint