Biprorshee Das

IRS 2012, Q1: Most top regional dailies' AIR fall over the last quarter

Gujarat Samachar is the only regional newspaper to have gained readers in Q1, 2012; Dinakaran and Eenadu see sharpest fall in AIR.

Regional dailies have had a tough quarter, reveals IRS Q1, 2012. Almost all newspapers among the top 10 language dailies have taken a beating, losing readers over Q4, 2011.

Gujarat Samachar is the lone player that has witnessed a growth in average issue readership (AIR), gaining 55,000 readers in Q1, 2012 over the previous quarter. The biggest drop in AIR this quarter was posted by Sun Networks' Dinakaran and Telugu newspaper Eenadu, that registered a quarter-on-quarter de-growth of 1.19 lakh and 85,000 readers, respectively.

IRS 2012, Q1: Most top regional dailies' AIR fall over the last quarter
With the rise in readership, Gujarat Samachar has moved up a rank in the top 10 list to No. 8, dethroning Dinakaran, the only ranking change during this quarter.

When compared to Q1, 2011, Telugu daily Sakshi has moved up the ranks from No. 9 to No. 7, while Gujarat Samachar and Dinakaran have lost a position each to hold the eighth and ninth ranks, respectively.

The Malayalam daily, Malayala Manorama remains the No. 1 language daily of the country despite losing 62,000 readers this quarter. The newspaper's AIR stands at 98.75 lakh in Q1, 2012, a loss of 63,000 readers from a year ago.

With an AIR of 74.85 lakh, Marathi newspaper Lokmat follows Malayala Manorama in the No. 2 position. After posting a healthy quarter-on-quarter growth of 1.24 lakh readers in Q4, 2011, Lokmat lost 77,000 readers in the latest quarter. However, compared to the AIR in Q1, 2011, the loss is marginal of only 1,000 readers.

Neck-to-neck with Lokmat is Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi, at No. 3 with an AIR of 74.77 lakh. The daily lost 26,000 readers in the latest quarter. However, since Q1, 2011, Daily Thanthi is the biggest gainer among the top 10 dailies, having added 2.9 lakh readers in the past one year.

The only other Malayalam daily in the list, Mathrubhumi, is at No. 4. It lost 66,000 readers in Q1, 2012 taking its AIR to 66 lakh. The newspaper has witnessed the biggest drop in AIR among the others since Q1, 2011, losing two lakh readers.

At No. 5, Anandabazar Patrika continues to bleed. After losing 49,000 readers in Q4, 2011, the popular Bengali daily lost another 79,000 readers this quarter. Since Q1, 2011, the newspaper has lost 1.48 lakh readers. Its AIR this quarter stands at 59.70 lakh compared to 61.18 lakh a year ago.

Eenadu too, at No. 6, has continued to lose readers, although not as much as it did in the previous quarter. After having lost 1.1 lakh readers in Q4, 2011, the daily's AIR dropped by another 85,000 this quarter. Its AIR stands at 59.06 lakh in Q1, 2012 versus 59.91 lakh a year back.

The No. 7 position is taken up by Sakshi. The newspaper has lost a considerable portion of its gain achieved during the last quarter of 2011. After having gained 84,000 readers in Q4, 2011, it has lost 59,000 readers in the current quarter. The annual analysis, though, reveals Sakshi to be the only other daily besides the Daily Thanthi to post a growth - of 2.02 lakh readers. Its current AIR is 52.44 lakh.

Gujarat Samachar, at No. 8, makes good its Q4, 2011 loss of 17,000 readers, adding 55,000 this quarter. With an AIR of 52.24 lakh, it has lost 52,000 readers since Q1, 2011.

The loss of 26,000 readers in the previous quarter might now seem paltry for Dinakaran as it lost 1.19 lakh readers in Q1, 2012. Dinakaran's current AIR stands at 51.08 lakh compared to 51.23 in Q1, 2011, placing it at No. 9 in the top 10 list.

Marathi daily Daily Sakal is at No. 10 and has had a comparatively good quarter. The newspaper, after having posted a healthy growth of 1.27 lakh readers in the previous quarter, lost only 4,000 readers in Q1, 2012, taking its latest AIR to 43.96 lakh. It has lost 1.72 lakh readers since Q1, 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.)

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