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110 million new newspaper readers in three years

31 January 2018

The story how Indian newspaper industry is on a relentless growth path, bucking the global trend where the market has been taken over by the digital, continues to find new evidence of support. Now, according to the latest Indian Readership Survey (IRS), released on 18 January, released after a gap of four years, in the last three years, the newspaper readership grew by an impressive 39%, adding 110 million to the existing number.

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The total readership of the dailies now stands at 407 million compared to 295 million in the last IRS report released in 2014. Rural India has contributed 70 million of these new readers, while the urban markets have added 40 million readers.

Total readership is the number of readers who have read the newspaper at least once in the last one month. The survey was conducted amongst the population of over 12 years of age across urban and rural India.

The report also suggested that total readership of English newspapers (28 million) is now fourth highest in the country, after Hindi (176 million), Tamil and Marathi (34 million each) dailies. The Telugu dailies have a total readership of 25 million, followed by Malayalam (24 million), Gujarati (23 million) and Bengali dailies (21million), respectively.

“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,” said Ashish Bhasin, chairman, MRUC and CEO-South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Networks. “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."

In terms of growth, English dailies have registered a healthy 10% growth in the total readership.

Busting another myth that the youth does not read newspapers, the IRS 2017 data suggest that 42% of the population in the 12-15 years age group, and 50% between 16-19 years have read the hard copy of at least one daily in past one month. Forty-two per cent of the population in the age group of 20-29 years read dailies.

The magazines managed to top up 78 million readers as per IRS 2017 compared to 40 million readers reported by IRS 2014. Out of these 38 million new readers, 22 million are from urban India, while close to 17 million were contributed by rural consumers. (Courtesy agencies)

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