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Launched amid COVID-19, IRS 2019 Q4 shows newspaper readership on slow decline

Media Research Users Council India (MRUC India), today released the last and final quarter – Q4 – of IRS 2019. IRS 2019 Q4 is a rolling average of four quarters of IRS 2019 data, that is, Q1+Q2+Q3 and Q4 2019, the fieldwork (Q4) of which covers from December 2019 through March 2020. The sample size of IRS 2019 is 3.27 lakh households across India, out of which urban sample size is 2.14 lakh households and rural is 1.13 lakh households. IRS 2019 Q4 is the full year report covering four quarters of a continuous and uninterrupted IRS 2019 fieldwork.

As per the latest IRS data, newspaper readership is on a slow decline and is a trend seen across Hindi, English and Regional languages. However, radio listenership is growing, while TV viewing, too, is showing growth even on a very big base.

Dainik Jagran continues to top dailies readership, but has seen a dip in its Total Readership (TR) in IRS 2019 Q4 at 68,667,000, while its Average Issue Readership (AIR) has also dipped to 16,872,000. Dainik Bhaskar is placed in the second spot with TR at 52,429,000, which is marginally lower than in Q3. However, in terms of AIR, the daily has garnered 15,566,000, which is marginally higher than in Q3.

In terms of Total Readership, Daily Thanthi (No. 6), Lokmat (No. 7) and The Times of India (No. 9) have seen growth. 

The Times of India (TOI) and Hindustan Times (HT) top the English dailies space. While TOI is the most read English daily in Mumbai, registering TR of 2,894,000 and AIR of 1,205,000; in Delhi it is HT that leads this space, garnering TR of 1,822,000 and AIR of 773,000.

In Mumbai, HT is placed second with TR of 2,042,000 and AIR of 770,000. Both TOI and HT have seen growth in their Total Readership, however, in terms of AIR, both the dailies have seen decline compared to Q3.

Mumbai Mirror is the third most read English daily in Mumbai with TR of 1,867,000 and AIR of 660,000. The daily has seen a decline as compared to Q3.

Media landscape is rapidly evolving with multi-media adoption seen across consumer strata. Overall Media reach continues to grow even as the consumption of each media remains more or less stable, with Internet making a noteworthy exception by leading this growth curve, particularly in rural India. Among other highlights from IRS 2019Q4 data – Electrification in India has surged, premium durable ownership in households have increased and so has individual’s online shopping and smart phone ownership across both urban and rural India.

Pratap Pawar, Chairman of MRUC India and Chairman of Sakal Media, “We have successfully completed and released all four quarters of IRS 2019 data. I thank our Board of Governors and IRS Technical Committee for their unwavering commitment and their resolve in providing the industry with a robust, reliable and timely research study.”

Vikram Sakhuja, IRS Technical Committee Chairman and Group CEO, Madison Media & OOH, Madison World, commented, “With 4 Quarters of 2019 data now complete, we are reporting a complete year’s picture. Earlier quarters had also included some part of 2017 data. A few trends are emerging. Internet penetration has increased substantially and is now mainstream along with TV and Print; NCCS D&E are reducing quarter on quarter faster than HH socio economic status, thereby suggesting the need to Relook at the NCCS definition; ability to read and understand English has increased and while overall Print Readership is holding, daily readership has started showing signs of decline.”

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