Launch of new publications lifts figures

According to the Indian Readership Survey (IRS), 39% of the Indian population (above 12 years of age) read newspapers. The bulk of this new readership has come from rural India. In urban India, 53% consume newspapers while in rural India, 31% consume newspapers.

31 Jan 2018 | By PrintWeek India

While in the 2014 survey, rural India recorded total newspaper readership of 143 million, in IRS 2017, rural readership of newspapers was 214 million. Urban areas also saw the increase in readership from 152 million in IRS 2014 to 193 million in IRS 2017. A large part of the readership increase has come from the launch of new publications.

The increase in readership in rural areas is also reflective of the literacy rates in these regions improving.

The total universe for IRS 2017 expanded to 1.05 billion from 962 million in IRS 2014 (12 years and above), and of these, 4% consumed news on digital as well. Nearly 5 million people read newspapers only through digital while the rest consumed news using a combination of media.

The survey shows that printed newspaper reading is still a habit among the younger demographic. Newspaper readership was 50% in the 16-19 year age group, the highest in any age segment, followed by 42% each in the 12-15 years and 20-29 year age group.

Hindi dailies saw a huge spurt in readership despite a healthy base of 121 million readers in IRS 2014. According to IRS 2017 data, Hindi dailies saw a 45% surge in readership to reach 176 million. Gujarati dailies saw a similar growth spurt (45%) albeit on a smaller base (16 million in IRS 2014 to 23 million in IRS 2017. English dailies saw 10% increase in readership from 25 million in IRS 2014 to 28 million IRS 2017.

Magazines almost doubled readership according to IRS 2017 from 40 million in IRS 2014 to 78 million in the latest report. Here the growth has come from the urban areas which added 22 million readers while rural India added 17 million readers. In percentage terms, a total of seven per cent of the universe read magazines in 2017, 12 per cent of urban India and five per cent of rural India contributed to magazine readership.

After numerous grievances about the data in 2013 and 2014, the committee behind the IRS took a step back to update the methodology and security measures while conducting the survey. As a result, the survey has been released after a gap of three years. The sample size for IRS 2017 is the largest ever at 320, 000 respondents.

The reach of different media also saw a hike when compared to IRS 2017. Television led the roster 75% reach (10% higher than IRS 2014), followed by newspapers at 39% reach (8% more than IRS 2014) followed by radio and internet at 19% each. Magazines registered a reach of 5% while cinema was at 3%. (Courtesy agencies) 

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