The latest quarter of Indian Readership Survey (Q3, IRS 2012) continues to spell bad news for magazines. Of the top 10 magazines, only two have recorded growth, while the other periodicals have registered a decline in average issue readership (AIR). It is only fair to point out, though, that magazine publishers have consistently complained that IRS does them injustice and paints a poor picture of their reach.
According to the latest quarter of IRS, the No. 1 magazine of the country, Vanitha, from Malayala Manorama Group, has an average issue readership of 22.7 lakh, a decline of 3.19 lakh since Q3, 2011. In fact, in the last one quarter, the Malayalam fortnightly has lost 82,000 average readers.
At No. 3 is Samanya Gyan Darpan, with an AIR of 17.3 lakh. Though the Hindi title made its entry in the top 10 list in Q4, 2011, the magazine is one of the two periodicals in the list to register growth since Q3, 2011, making it the second biggest gainer during the period. It has recorded a growth in AIR of 69,000 this quarter, and 55,000 since Q4, 2011.
Despite the loss of more than a lakh readers since Q3, 2011, India Today English continues to be at the No. 4 position in the latest quarter of IRS. The English weekly has recorded a decline in AIR of 28,000 since Q2, 2012. In this quarter of IRS, the magazine has 15.3 lakh AIR.
Saras Salil by Delhi Press is at No. 5. The Hindi publication has recorded an AIR of 13.5 lakh - a decline of about 6 lakh average readers since Q3, 2011-the biggest loser among the top 10 magazines. In fact, in the last one quarter, the publication has lost 2 lakh average issue readership.
The woman's magazine, Meri Saheli, takes up the No. 6 position with 2 lakh AIR. The Hindi title has lost marginal readers in the last one year (a loss of 4,000 AIR). In this quarter, the publication has added 13,000 readers.
The only Bengali magazine to feature in this list, Karmakshetra, has emerged as the biggest gainer since Q3, 2011 - an increase of 1.4 lakh AIR. At No. 7, the Bengali weekly has an AIR of 11.9 lakh, which is 15,000 readers more than the last quarter.
Another Malayalam title to feature in the list is Malayala Manorama by the Malayala Manorama Group. Malayala Manorama has recorded 10.5 lakh AIR this time - a decline of 2.5 lakh in average issue readership in the last one year. Among the top 10 magazines, it is the second biggest loser, but has moved one step up the ladder since Q2, 2012, from No. 9 to No. 8.
The No. 9 position is taken up by an English title, General Knowledge Today. The monthly magazine has lost 40,000 readers in the last one year and as per the latest quarter of IRS, it has 10.5 lakh AIR. Cricket Samrat has slipped two positions since the last quarter and is at No. 10 this time. The Hindi monthly has registered 10.4 lakh AIR in the latest quarter - a decline of 93,000 readers since the last quarter, and 1.15 lakh readers since Q3, 2011.
(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.)