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IRS 2011, Q2: Top Hindi dailies record an increase in AIR

By Prajjal Saha , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | October 05, 2011
Besides the top four Hindi dailies -- Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, Hindustan and Amar Ujala -- other language newspapers such as Lokmat, Daily Thanthi, Dinakaran, Sakshi, Eenadu, Malayala Manorama and The Times of India have registered growth. In the losers' list are Mathrubhumi, Rajasthan Patrika, Gujarat Samachar and Ananda Bazar Patrika.

All the top four Hindi dailies -- Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, Hindustan and Amar Ujala -- have registered a growth in AIR (average issue readership) in this quarter.

Dainik Jagran is the top gainer in this quarter, having added 4.83 lakh average issue readers. The leading Hindi daily has been reporting a fluctuating readership for the last few quarters. In Q3, 2010, Jagran's AIR increased by 25,000 and in the last quarter of 2010, it added more than a lakh readers. However, all this growth was levelled in the last quarter when it lost 1.56 lakh readers. The newspaper's current AIR stands at 1.64 crore.

Hindustan, which comes in next in terms of AIR growth this quarter, has added 1.75 lakh average issue readers. The Hindi daily has had a consistent growth quarter on quarter, and in the last one year, it has added 18 lakh readers -- a growth rate of 18 per cent. This is the highest rate of growth for any publication in the last one year. From 1.01 crore average issue readers in Q2, 2010, the newspaper has increased its readership base to 1.19 crore in the current quarter.

Dainik Bhaskar, which has registered a decline in terms of TR (Total Readership), has shown some regular growth in AIR for the last few quarters. While in this quarter, Dainik Bhaskar has added 1.58 lakh readers, the Hindi daily's AIR has increased by 8.71 lakh readers in the last one year -- a growth of 6.55 per cent. Its current AIR stands at 1.41 crore -- 22 lakh more than Hindustan.

Amar Ujala has also added 1.44 lakh average issue readers in this quarter, and around 5.63 lakh readers in the last one year. The newspaper which has been consistently growing quarter on quarter now claims an average issue readership of 88.91 lakh. However, in terms of TR, the newspaper has lost 90,000 readers.

Apart from these four Hindi dailies, Marathi daily Lokmat and Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi has also increased their AIR in this quarter.

Lokmat, which added close to four lakh readers in Q3, 2010, lost more than three lakh readers in the next two quarters. However in this quarter, the newspaper has added another 1,00,000 readers, taking its AIR to 75.95 lakh. In the last one year, the newspaper has increased its AIR by 1.93 lakh. Even in TR, the newspaper has added 3.5 lakh readers in the current quarter.

Daily Thanthi, which lost close to four lakh average issue readers in the last two rounds of 2010 has been on a growth spree in the first two quarters of this year. In the previous quarter, it increased its AIR by 1.73 lakh, and it has added another 1,00,000 average issue readers in this quarter. However, this gain is yet to compensate for the previous losses, and is still 1.12 lakh readers behind Q2, 2010. The No. 1 Tamil Daily's AIR is 72.90 lakh. The newspaper has also managed to maintain a status quo in terms of TR in this quarter.

The Telugu newspaper Sakshi has recorded a modest increase of AIR this quarter, having added 64,000 readers. However, in the last one year, it has added 4.68 lakh average issue readers, with a second highest growth rate of 10 per cent. This young Telugu newspaper now claims AIR of 51.06 lakh.

The No. 2 Tamil newspaper Dinakaran, which is part of the Sun group, has been consistently increasing its AIR for the last few quarters. It had 1.8 lakh average issue readers in Q3, 2010, but has recorded a growth since then. Between Q4, 2010 and Q2, 2011, this Tamil daily has added more than three lakh readers. Its current AIR is 51.67 lakh. Though, Dinakaran has increased it AIR this quarter, its total readership has declined by 92,000 total readers.

Eenadu has also increased its AIR by 41,000 readers in this quarter. This has been a good quarter for the top Telugu daily as in the previous two rounds, it lost 1.7 lakh readers. Its current AIR is 60.32 lakh -- 10 lakh more than its closest competitor Sakshi.

The TOI is another newspaper that has constantly grown in AIR. In this quarter, it has grown by 29,000 readers. However, in the last one year, the newspaper has increased its AIR by 3.83 lakhs.

Malayala Manorama, which is now the fourth most-read daily in the country, in terms of AIR, has increased its readership by 24,000. In the last one year, the newspaper has increased its AIR by 1.21 lakh. Interestingly, the Malayalam daily doesn't even feature in the Top 10 list, in terms of TR. In this quarter, it has lost 52,000 total readers bringing down the total readership of the Malayalam daily to 1.26 crore readers.

The biggest loser in this quarter in terms of AIR is Mathrubhumi, followed by Rajasthan Patrika, Gujarat Samachar and Anandabazar Patrika (ABP). Mathrubhumi has lost more than a lakh readers, however, is still 1.24 lakh readers ahead, if the last one year is considered.

Meanwhile, Rajashthan Patrika has lost 92,000 readers in this quarter. The Hindi daily had gained more than three lakh average issue readers in Q3, 2010, but has lost readers since then. In fact, even in terms of TR, the Hindi newspaper has lost 3.5 lakh readers in the last three quarters. However, it is to be noted that the readership figures do not include that of Patrika (the newspaper is published from Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh by this name). It is in these markets that the Hindi daily has been aggressive on growth. The AIR for Rajasthan Patrika stands at 69.41 lakh in the current quarter.

Even ABP and Gujarat Samachar have lost more than 50,000 readers, each. However, if the last one year's data is considered, ABP is the biggest loser, having lost close to 5 lakh average issue readers. Even in terms of total readers, the daily had lost around 5 lakh readers in the previous few quarters, but was lucky to have added 1.79 lakh total readers in this quarter.

(Total readership includes any reader who has read any of the last six issues; whereas average issue readership includes only readers who have read the last issue.)