39% of Indians read newspapers: IRS 2017 Report

The printing industry is in safe hands so far as the readership is concerned. This was the key finding of the IRS 2017 report released on 18 January 2018. According to the Report, 39% of Indians (12+ years) read newspapers, and 20% of all newspaper readers in 50 lakh plus population towns read newspapers online.

19 Jan 2018 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

Commenting on the Report, released by Ashish Bhasin, chairman, MRUC and chairman and CEO – South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Networks, said, “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. 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 other highlights, there is 9% growth in total newspaper readership in the last four years. Among 12+ individuals, the IRS 2017 has recorded last 1 month readership at 104 crore, up from 96 crore in IRS 2014.

Readership of English dailies has grown by 10% over the last four years and touched 2.8 crore in IRS 2017 as compared to 2.5 crore in the last IRS.

Hindi readership stands at 17.6 crore in IRS 2017, up 45% from 12.1 crore in IRS 2014.

The largest percentage growth has been in Oriya language readership which has grown by 83% to 1.1 crore as compared to 0.6 crore in IRS 2014.

Bengali readership grew by 9% to 2.1 crore from 1.9 crore.

The IRS 2017 Report covered a full year sample of 3,20,000 households – the highest ever in the history of any readership study in the world. The large sample size was backed by a meticulously designed methodology, which saw the use of 100% dual screen CAPI followed by a tighter scrutiny process via continuous backchecks, accompaniments, use of audio recordings, and third-party field audits These enhanced levels of quality control deployed by the IRS TechCom has ensured veracity of data capture for all quarters. The robustness of capture of media consumption across all media has been significantly enhanced due to the increased sample size and better representation across all pop strata.

All key stakeholders had been actively engaged by RSCI and MRUC all through the fieldwork period to keep them updated and aligned on the progress.

The IRS 2017 Report also offers new readership metrics. Apart from the standard and well-established Average Issue Readership metric, one can now look at data from the perspective of Total Readership (TR), and Readership of Publications by timeframes of last seven days and last seven days. These new metrics have been introduced to provide a true representation of the changing consumption habits among newspaper readers.

Another interesting development has been the capture and reporting of readership for the main issue of newspapers versus their variants, each of which are now reported separately in IRS 2017.

Bhasin added, “The support we have received from across constituencies for bringing out this Report was phenomenal and it was very pleasing to see the key stakeholders contributing in many ways to improve the study that has been in existence since more than two decades.”

Shashi Sinha, RSCI managing committee chairman, and CEO, IPG Media Brands, said, “The IRS 2017 Report mirrors the market reality in terms of media reach and the performance of individual media channels be it newspapers, magazines and broadcasters. The methodology deployed to capture data quarter-on-quarter was the very best for a study of this scale and kind, and the sheer focus on quality control makes this Report a reliable one and a real stand out.”

NP Sathyamurthy, chairman – RSCI technical committee and executive director, DDB Mudra Group, added, “Absence of readership data for four years meant that we had to work that much harder and smarter to bring the study back in action and in line with the market truths and expectations. From 2016, when we began the fieldwork, up till last month when we completed the validations for all four quarters, the journey wasn’t easy, and had its own special twists and turns.”  


Top 20 newspapers according to IRS 2017  

  • In the Indian Readership Survey 2017, released after a hiatus of four years, Dainik Jagran and Times of India retained their top slots in Hindi and English daily categories respectively. Meanwhile, Dainik Jagran has a total readership (last month) of 7,03,77,000 while The Times of India has a total readership of 1,30,47,000.
  • The second largest read daily is Hindustan with a total readership of 5,23,97,000 followed by Amar Ujala at No 3 with total readership of 4,60,94,000.
  • No 4 position is held by Dainik Bhaskar with a total readership of 4,51,05,000.
  • Daily Thanthi is at No 5 with a total readership of 2,31,49,000 followed by Lokmat at No 6 with a total readership of 1,80,66,000.
  • Rajasthan Patrika holds No 7 position with a total readership of 1,63,26,000, followed by Malayala Manorama at No 8 with a total readership of 1,59,95,000.
  • No 9 position is held by Eenadu with a TR of 1,58,48,000 while Prabhat Khabar is at No 10 with a total readership of 1,34,92,000.
  • The No 1 English daily The Times of India is at No 11 with a total readership of 1,30,47,000. Anandabazar Patrika captured 12th position with a total readership of 1,27,63,000 followed by Punjab Kesari at No 13 with 1,22,32,000. Dinakaran has a total readership of 1,20,83,000 at No 14 while Mathrubhumi is at No 15 with 1,18,63,000.
  • Gujarat Samachar is at No 16 with a total readership of 1,17,84,000 followed by Dinamalar at No 17 with 1,16,09,000.
  • Daily Sakal is at No 18 with a total of 1,04,98,000, followed by Sandesh at No 19 with 1,01,52,000 and Patrika at No 20 with a total readership of 96,23,000.

Top 10 English magazines according to IRS 2017

  • According to the IRS 2017 Report, the English version of India Today strengthened its leadership with a wide margin from the No 2 magazine General Knowledge Today. Although there is no comparison between a magazine and a newspaper, considering overall English publications, India Today English has also become second largest English publication after The Times of India.
  • The Sportstar is the third largest read English weekly followed by Diamond Cricket Today at No 4. Fortnightly magazine Filmfare is at No 5. Pratiyogita Darpan and Outlook were at No 6 and No 7 English magazines, respectively.
  • Competition Success Review is at No 8 followed by Readers Digest at No 9. India Today Group’s business magazine Business Today is at No 10, becoming the largest read English business magazine.
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