The state of Jharkhand has seen a growth in total readership of 1.04 lakh in the current round. The readership growth registered by the state since IRS R2, 2009 is about 3 lakh. Of the 2.2 crore population, about 56 per cent can read Hindi in the state and newspaper penetration is about 11.5 per cent.
According to the industry, there is a potential for the readership to grow to 60 per cent, considering the current market dynamics.
In June 2010, all the leading Hindi dailies of Jharkhand, including Dainik Jagran, Hindustan and Prabhat Khabar, reduced their cover prices. This was followed by aggressive circulation drives by all the Hindi dailies in the area. As a result of this, circulation numbers increased for all the existing players.
In terms of total readership (46.51 lakh), the No. 1 daily of Jharkhand is Hindustan; the newspaper shows a gain of 3.36 lakh readers in the current quarter. In the last two rounds, the Hindi daily had gained 7.34 lakh readers.
According to company officials at Hindustan, the key strategy adopted by the daily was to "make the product more relevant, along with differentiated and innovative offerings (like Jaano English) and making the product affordable through revised pricing". Another strategy adopted by this Hindi daily was an attempt to increase its reach in the English newspaper households by offering value added combo offers for HT readers.
Talking about the factors behind the constant growth of dailies in the region, the official adds, "The biggest factor is the large gaps within literacy rates and readership figures across segments (especially the youth segment aged 15-29 years). These segments are constantly adding readers. Also, Internet usage for information in this region is limited - so the newspaper is a very important source of information. Third, Jharkhand and Bihar typically have a culture of newspaper reading, not so prevalent across other markets of the Hindi heartland."
The No. 2 position is taken up by Prabhat Khabar with a total readership of 34.17 lakh - an increase of 2.27 lakh in the latest quarter. The Hindi daily had added 51,000 readers in the last round.
Dainik Jagran is at No. 3 with total readership of 32.68 lakh. The daily has added 1.98 lakh readers this time. This No. 1 daily of India is the second biggest gainer of the state since the last two rounds, registering an increase of 2.95 lakh readers during the tenure.
Dainik Jagran, the flagship brand of Jagran Prakashan, had launched an initiative in Jharkhand called Jharkhand Jagran in April. As part of this, a mass survey was conducted in Ranchi, which covered more than two lakh homes from April to mid-June. The survey captured the reading habits and asked citizens to comment on the core issues concerning them.
Sitting firmly at No. 4 is Aj, with a total readership of 4.37 lakh readers, which is 28.31 lakh less than Dainik Jagran (the No. 3 daily of the state). The daily has registered a growth of about 1 lakh readers in the last two rounds. It has added approximately 50,000 readers in this quarter.
The No. 5 spot is taken up by the West Bengal based English daily, The Telegraph, which has registered total readership of 1.91 lakh - the maximum for any English daily in the area. The newspaper has added a marginal readership of 11,000 in the current round; however, in the last quarter, it could not add to its readership figures.
The Times of India is at No. 6, the position it has maintained since the last quarter. The English daily has a total readership of 1.70 lakh - a gain of 37,000 readers in the last two rounds, out of which it recorded a gain of 36,000 readers in Q2, 2010.
Hindustan Times takes the No. 7 position in the state and is only 2,000 readers short of The Times of India. It recorded a total readership of 1.68 lakh, as opposed to last quarter's 1.32 lakh - showing an increase of 36,000 (similar to that of TOI) in the state.
The Bengali newspaper, Anandabazar Patrika, is at No. 8, with a total readership of 1.41 lakh - registering a marginal increase of 8,000 readers this time. The daily had gained only 1,000 readers in the last quarter.
The No. 9 and No. 10 spots are taken up by the Bengali daily, Bartaman, and The Economic Times respectively. Bartaman has a total readership of 70,000, whereas The Economic Times has a total readership of 51,000.