afaqs!

IRS 2011 Q1: Chennai's love for English magazines goes down

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | June 27, 2011
Delhi's inclination towards fortnightly and monthly magazines increases; Kolkata continues to prefer weekly magazines.

Magazine readership in India is on a decline, and the fate of English titles is no different. Despite the declining popularity, there are a few markets where English magazines continue to register growth.

Among the six metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad), Delhi prefers to read fortnightly and monthly magazines, and prefers English monthly titles the most. Since R1, 2009, English monthly titles have recorded a growth rate of 25 per cent, the maximum among the six metros, and have added 1.55 lakh readers in this quarter. The total readership (TR) of monthly titles in Delhi stands at 13.03 lakh, as opposed to 10.39 lakh in R1, 2009.

Any English Fortnightly in the Capital has grown at a slow pace (a growth rate of 3.2 per cent) since R1, 2009, and has registered a TR of 7.41 lakh -- an increase of 51,000 readers in the current quarter. In the fortnightly space, Business Today, with a TR of 1.37 lakh, features in the Top Three list, and has registered a marginal growth of 6,000 readers in the latest quarter. The No. 1 fortnightly of Delhi, Femina (with a TR of 2.33 lakh), has also added about 10,000 readers this time. The No. 3 English fortnightly Filmfare, which has a TR of 1.21 lakh, has gained 8,000 readers in Q1, 2011. In the fortnightly space, Filmfare is the No. 1 fortnightly magazine in all the six metros, except in Delhi, where it is at No. 3.

Reader's Digest, with a total readership of 3.78 lakh, is the most read English monthly in the Capital. It is followed by Competition Success Review (with a TR of 2.01 lakh readers) and Stardust (TR of 1.92 lakh) in this quarter. Reader's Digest is the No. 1 monthly magazine across the six metros. Competition Success Review is the No. 2 publication in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.

However, weekly magazines in the Capital seem to have taken a beating in the last two years -- showing de-growth of 14 per cent. The total readership of English weeklies in the Delhi region has registered a decline of 1.40 lakh readers since R1, 2009.

The fate of Any English Weekly across the country has gone down since R1, 2009, and its TR in this quarter is 71.17 lakh -- 12.77 lakh less than R1, 2009. Like English weeklies, English fortnightlies have also registered de-growth in the last two years -- a loss of 5.41 lakh readership across the country, and a decline of 8.62 per cent during the period. The total readership of English fortnightlies stands at 57.34 lakh in this quarter.

The weekly publications in Delhi have gained a readership of 40,000 in this quarter. While India Today, the No. 1 English weekly of Delhi, with a total readership of 6.69 lakh, has added 16,000 readers in this quarter, the No. 2 publication Outlook, with a TR of 2.01 lakh, has also added 12,000 readers. Similarly, The Week has recorded an increase of 9,000 readers in the latest quarter.

Bengaluru, like Delhi, has registered an affinity towards the monthly titles. The TR of English monthly magazines in the city is 4.51 lakh readers in this quarter -- a gain of 81,000 readers. The monthly titles in the city have grown at the rate of 21 per cent since R1, 2009.

In the fortnightly space, however, the city has registered de-growth of almost the same percentage -- 22 per cent -- in the last two years. Fortnightly magazines in Bengaluru have lost 67,000 readers during the period. However, in the present quarter, the city has registered a marginal increase of 7,000 readers. In the fortnightly space, Bengaluru prefers business publications and the top two fortnightly publications in the city are Business Today and Business & Economy, though both have lost readership -- a loss of 4,000 and 7,000 readers, respectively.

The English weekly space has emerged as the weakest point for the city, having registered de-growth of 29 per cent, and 1.16 lakh readers since R1, 2009. From 4.05 lakh in R1, 2009, the total readership of English weeklies in Bengaluru has come down to 2.89 lakh in this quarter. The Week and India Today are the top two weeklies of Bengaluru, and both have lost marginally in this quarter, while Outlook (No. 3 weekly of Bengaluru) has recorded a marginal growth.

Kolkata has maintained a steady, but small growth in readership across English weeklies, fortnightlies and monthlies in the last two years. However, the first choice of Kolkata, as far as English periodicals are concerned is weekly titles. The English weeklies in the city, which have grown at the rate of 15.5 per cent since R1, 2009, have added a marginal readership of 53,000 since then. The current readership of English weeklies in Kolkata stands at 3.95 lakh, and has registered a decrease of 20,000 since Q4, 2010. The Telegraph in Schools is the No. 1 weekly in the city and has a TR of 1.02 lakh readers as per Q1, 2011.

English fortnightlies in Kolkata, with a TR of 3.25 lakh, have added 18,000 readers in the last two years -- a marginal growth of 6 per cent. Similarly, English monthly magazines in the city have registered an increase of 12,000 readers since R1, 2009 and have a TR of 6 lakh in the current quarter.

In Ahmedabad, only monthly magazines have recorded growth, that too marginally. In the rest of the space (i.e. weekly and fortnightly) the city has lost readership. The monthly titles in the city have a TR of 88,000 in this quarter, registering a gain of 30,000 readers since R1, 2009. In the weekly and fortnightly space, the English publications have lost equal number of readers -- a loss of 10,000 readers in the last two years.

As far as Chennai is concerned, English weeklies, fortnightlies and monthlies have lost readership. While in the weekly and fortnightly space, the city has lost 90,000 readers in the last two years, it has faced the maximum brunt in the monthly space. The English monthlies in Chennai have recorded a loss of 1.11 lakh readers during the period, and their current readership stands at 2.31 lakh.

Interestingly, Chennai is the only city among the six metros where a sports magazine features in the Top Three list. Sportstar is the No. 2 weekly publication in the South Indian city, though it has a very small TR of 19,000 readers as per Q1, 2011. Likewise, Mumbai is the only metro where a weekly business magazine (Business World) features in the Top Three list.

Mumbai seems to be losing its affinity towards English monthlies, and has registered de-growth of 41 per cent in the last two years. Any English Monthly has lost 4.24 lakh readership since R1, 2009. Readers Digest is the No. 1 monthly in Mumbai, followed by Stardust and Autocar. In the fortnightly space, the city has lost 1.61 lakh readers during the period, and 1.08 lakh readers in the weekly magazine space.

Any English Monthly, with a TR of 1.30 crore, has lost 1.23 lakh readers since R1, 2009 and registered de-growth of 7.29 per cent during the period.

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