IRS 2010, Q2: HT widens its gap with TOI in National Capital Territory

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | August 26, 2010
The gap between HT and TOI in the region has increased from 34,000 in Q1, 2010 to 93,000 in this quarter

English daily Hindustan Times (HT) continues to be the No. 1 daily in National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT) (which includes Delhi and its Urban environs) with a total readership of 31.93 lakh. Though, it has lost 59,000 readers in the current round.

The biggest change in the NCT market is The Times of India's (TOI) decline from No.1 to No.3. In R2, 2009, TOI was the No.1 daily in the market. In Q1, 2010, it slipped to No.2 position behind HT. And in this quarter, TOI has slipped from No.2 to No.3 behind Navbharat Times - the Hindi daily from the same group. TOI has lost 1.18 lakh readers in the current quarter.

The gap between HT and TOI in the region has also increased from 34,000 in Q1, 2010 to 93,000 in this quarter.

Sudha Natrajan, chief operating officer and president, Lintas Media Group, expresses surprise at the heavy loss reported by TOI in the latest round of IRS. According to her, the numbers cannot be so high for one of the leading publications, which, a while ago, was market leader with 50 per cent market share.

She adds that another possibility could be of Mail Today replacing TOI and HT as the second newspaper in many homes. In the recent past, Mail Today went for a huge circulation drive, which resulted in a lot of younger readers migrating to the newspaper. Natrajan asserts that even this phenomenon cannot account for the huge drop of readers for TOI as reported by IRS Q2, 2010.

Meanwhile, Navbharat Times (NBT) which has moved up by a position has maintained a status quo. It has lost 1,000 in Q1, which is negligible. NBT, however, continues to be the No.1 daily in Delhi alone minus the satellite towns. In Delhi, the Hindi daily has added 25,000 readers.

At No. 4 and No. 5 in NCT are the Hindi dailies, Dainik Jagran and Hindustan, with readerships of 24.67 lakh and 22.93 lakh respectively. Dainik Jagran has lost 8,000 readers in the current round, whereas, unlike its English counterpart HT, the Hindi publication Hindustan has added 53,000 readers. It's a positive development for Hindustan as it had lost 30,000 readers in the last round.

Punjab Kesari has again emerged as the big loser in this market. After losing 81,000 readers in Q1, the Hindi daily has lost 1.23 lakh readers in the current quarter. The daily's total readership now stands at 22.71 lakh.

Amar Ujala holds the No.7 position in NCT, with a total readership of 7.13 lakh - almost one-third the size of its closest competitor. Amar Ujala has lost 34,000 readers in the current round which is a correction as compared to the loss of 71,000 and 1.05 lakh readers in Q1, 2010 and R2, 2010, respectively.

The only business daily to feature in the Top 10 dailies in NCT is The Economic Times (ET). The business daily has a total readership of 4.79 lakh in Q2, 2010, with an addition of 22,000 readers in the current round. Interestingly, the entire lot of the new readers has come to ET from Delhi alone.

In NCT, Dainik Bhaskar and Rashtriya Sahara are the No. 9 and No. 10 players, with total readerships of 3.87 lakh and 3.07 lakh, respectively. Over the last three rounds, Dainik Bhaskar has been adding readers to its fold and in the current round, it has got as many as 20,000 new readers. On the contrary, Rashtriya Sahara has been losing readers over the last three rounds. The Hindi daily has lost 9,000 readers in Q2, 2010, as against a loss of 11,000 and 20,000 readers in Q1, 2010 and R2, 2009 respectively.

Sharing some insights on migrant populations' reading habits influencing the fortune of publications in Delhi, Natrajan says, "It all depends on who is migrating and from where. HT enjoys equity in north and TOI commands affinity across the country. So, for people migrating from the north, HT is the first choice and for those moving in from the south and other parts of the country, TOI is the preferred daily."

She also adds that if one is talking about preferences exhibited by people migrating from the Hindi heartland, the game moves to another sphere - with the choice being purely between Hindi dailies including Hindustan, Navbharat and others.

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