The Indian Readership Survey (IRS) data released for Q1 of 2019 reveals that the overall readership of newspapers has grown from 407 million readers in 2017 to 425 million readers at the end of the first quarter of 2019. The report was released by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) on Friday.
While Hindi and regional dailies grew at 3.9 per cent and 5.7 per cent, respectively, English newspapers saw a 10.7 per cent growth, though on a small base. Hindi dailies had 186 million readers, while regional readership stood at 211 million in IRS Q1 2019. English newspaper readership went up from 28 million to 31 million between the 2017 and Q1 2019 surveys.
Total readership of magazines was up 9 million to 87 million, according to the latest IRS data, while business dailies too reported a healthy growth.
The report is based on a rolling average of the data from last three quarters of IRS 2017 and one fresh quarter from IRS 2019. The sample size for the latest IRS was 324,286 households. The consumption of online newspapers also saw growth. In IRS 2017, 4 per cent of the total universe consumed online newspapers, while in IRS 2019 the number has grown to 5 per cent. The growth is led by New Consumer Classification System A1 where 27 per cent of the total universe consumed online newspapers.
In consumption, the clear outlier was digital as the percentage of people who accessed the internet grew from 19 per cent of the total universe to 24 per cent. TV, radio and magazine consumption showed marginal increase, while newspaper readership and cinema consumption remained flat. However, since the universe of media consumption itself grew, there was growth in newspaper and cinema consumption in absolute numbers.
Internet penetration stood at 36 per cent, with urban markets seeing penetration in excess of 50 per cent, and rural markets at 28 per cent. However, in terms of absolute numbers, 50 per cent of internet users came from rural areas. Vikram Sakhuja, group CEO, Madison Media & OOH, Madison World, and IRS technical committee chairman, said, “Overall media consumption, and print in particular, is vibrant and growing. Most stakeholders should be encouraged with this snapshot of how India is consuming media and print.”