IRS 2009 R2: Only Business Today registers growth among top English magazines

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | November 25, 2009
Reader's Digest has registered the lowest decline since the last round

English magazines also tell a decline story in Round 2 (R2) of Indian Readership Survey (IRS) this year. India Today is the most read English magazine, with a readership of 56.27 lakh. However, the magazine's readership has been declining for the last four rounds. In Round 1 (R1) 2008, it had a readership of 68.73 lakh and lost over 7 lakh readers in the subsequent round.

Reader's Digest is at No. 2 in the list, garnering a readership of 36.10 lakh. In the last four rounds, the magazine's readership has declined the least, vis--vis other English magazines. In R1 2009, the readership stood at 39.42 lakh, down from 39.95 lakh in R2 2008. Its readership in R1 2008 stood at 44.86 lakh.

General Knowledge Today is the third most widely read English magazine, although it has lost more than 10 lakh readers since R1 2008. Its readership has declined marginally, from 31.92 lakh readers in R1 2009, to 29.84 lakh in this round.

Next on the list is Competition Success Review with a readership of 23.48 lakh, losing more than 2 lakh readers since the last round. The magazine lost close to 4 lakh readers between R1 2008 and R2 2008.

Filmfare, which is at No. 5, has a readership of 20.64 lakh and has lost only 1.49 lakh readers. However, since R1 2008, it has lost more than 40 per cent readership.

Wisdom is the sixth most read English magazine with 17.21 lakh readers. Since R1 2009, its readership has decreased by 2.12 lakh.

Stardust, with a readership of 16.54 lakh, is at No. 7. It has seen the maximum decline in R2 2008, when its readership decreased from 23.72 lakh in R1 2008 to 19.23 lakh.

Outlook at No. 8 has witnessed the least decline in the current round. Its readership stands at 15.53 lakh -- a loss of only 5,000 readers from the last round. However, its readership declined in R2 2008 to 17 lakh from 18.76 lakh in R1 2008.

At No. 9, Diamond Cricket Today's readership stands at 11.61 lakh. It has seen a loss of 1.11 lakh from the last round; and a decline of 33 per cent since R1 2008.

Business Today, at No. 10, is the only magazine to record an increase in readership in this round. It has a readership of 11.44 lakh, increasing from 10.91 lakh readers in R1 2009. The business magazine's readership has, however, decreased by 2.1 lakh since R1 2008.

Overall, all magazines, except Business Today, have registered a decline in readership to some extent, not just in this round, but over the last few rounds. Media consultant, AS Raghunath observes that it is time for magazines to look at other ways of distribution.

"Newspapers today are offering similar content as magazines in segments such as lifestyle, women, careers, auto and health, catering to each demographic segment. Magazines need to reorganise their distribution and lessen their dependence on subscription alone, in such a scenario," he says.

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