The National Readership Study (NRS) 2002, released yesterday (June 17, 2002) by the National Readership Studies Council (NRSC) at the YB Chavan Auditorium in Mumbai, has some good news for print and some bad news for television. The most interesting finding is that while the readership of print media has grown by 10 per cent in the last two years, the average television viewing time has come down from 85 minutes in 1999 to 82 minutes in 2002. Also of interest is the fact that the reach of the Internet now exceeds 6 million in India. As many as 20 per cent of Internet users now surf from home and 43 per cent go to a cyber cafe.
Coming to the specifics, the readership base in India has grown from 163 million to 180 million, registering a growth of 10 per cent. Of the 180 million readers, as many as 48 per cent are from the nearly 6 lakh villages scattered across the country, which in the words of Katy Merchant, senior vice-president and country manager, IMRB (one of the agencies that participated in the research, the others being AC Nielsen and TNS Mode) and main speaker at the occasion "is where the future of press is". The study revealed that there is significant scope for growth in readership as 248 million adults are literate but do not read any publication.
The readership base for newspapers/dailies increased from 131 million in 1999 to 156 million in 2002, an increase of 20 per cent whereas the growth in the reach of dailies is much higher than the literacy growth of 13 per cent in the same period. Language dailies that contributed significantly to this growth included English (in the metros), Hindi, Marathi and the clutch of newspapers from the south. The Assamese and Bengali dailies also sustained their pace.
Interestingly, more urban housewives (21.7 million in 1999 and 25.4 million in 2002) now read a daily newspaper, at the cost of magazines that is generally considered the staple diet for most women. One of the more important findings of the study is the decline of audiences for magazines both in urban as well as rural India. The reach of magazines has declined from 93.8 million in 1999 to 86.2 million in 2002. Magazines have lost 22 per cent of their reach since 1999 when taking account the population growth over these years. The erosion is mainly in the general interest, film/entertainment and sports magazines, where the percentage decline on an average is over 25 per cent.
Besides, the time spent on traditional media shows a marginal decline in urban markets with the urban adult averaging 13 hours a week as compared to the 14 hours per week in 1999.
In comparison, the time spent on traditional media in villages is virtually half, that is, 6 hours per adult, per week, which has been constant since 1999.
The decline in time spent on traditional media has not affected much reading time in urban India. The average reader still spends about 16 per cent of his total media time, which is 18 minutes per day, in reading a daily or magazine.
Television commands a lion's share of the urban media consumption, which is 72 per cent. However, there is a slight decline in time spent on TV in this market. Despite the increasing programme options, the average viewing time has come down from 85 minutes in 1999 to 82 minutes in 2002.
But the good news is that access to C&S homes has jumped from 29 million homes in 1999 to 40 million homes in 2002 - a sprightly 31 per cent growth, more than twice the growth of the TV market. © 2002 agencyfaqs!