Top magazines may have
shown a growth in readership as per the latest NRS study, but their overall readership has declined by 30-35 per cent.
According to senior media planners and close industry watchers, there are several factors that have contributed to this drop.
Prasun Kumar, media group head, Madison Media, says, "For the last four-five years, we have seen the readership of magazines declining at the rate of 25 per cent year-on-year."
He adds, "There are more than 150 television channels. In addition, there are newspapers offering various supplements, theatres are turning into multiplexes and even radio is coming up in a big way. So, there is obviously a huge pressure on media consumption time."
Another Delhi-based media planner, says, "One of the basic reasons is the cost. Newspaper supplements, which are a great substitute for magazines, come for no additional cost with the dailies, where as magazines are still priced very high."
The most affected genres of magazines have been the film-based and sports magazines.
As ND Badrinath, director, client servicing, AC Neilson, says, "Magazines were once read for news analysis. Today, newspapers and their supplements are satisfying this need. In addition, the supplements are weeklies, where as film or entertainment magazines are mainly monthlies."
Harish Shriyan, vice-president, MediaCom, says, "The habit of reading magazines has gone down. On the contrary, television viewership has gone up."
However, there are a few industry experts, who feel that magazines are doing well. Shashi Sinha, president, Lodestar and regional media director, FCB, Asia Pacific, says, "I don't agree with such generalised comments. It's not right to paint every magazine with the same brush. The problem is certainly not with the entire magazine genre. It's only with a few magazines here and there, which has contributed to this negative growth."
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