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Political advertising has been a buoyant force in 2019: Dhruba Mukherjee

The Telegraph has seen its Total Readership grow as per the IRS 2019 Q1 data at 1,599,000 from 1,558,000 in IRS 2017. However, the paper has slipped in the rankings among the Top 10 English dailies – from No. 7 in IRS 2017 to No. 9 in the latest round of the study. 

Summing up The Telegraph’s performance, its Vice-President, Dhruba Mukherjee, maintains that the daily has performed well and continues to be the unputdownable No. 1 English newspaper of choice for readers in Kolkata. Excerpts from his interaction with Adgully: 

How do you view The Telegraph’s performance as per the IRS 2019 Q1 report?
The Telegraph has performed well in IRS 2019 Q1. It is the unputdownable No. 1 English newspaper of choice for readers in Kolkata – both in terms of Average Issue Readership (AIR) and Total Readership (TR). Its strength lies in the upper NCCS segment, where it delivers significant higher reach than the nearest competition. To sum up, The Telegraph’s stronghold lies in the urban educated upper NCCS audience in the age group of 20-40 years. To many advertisers, this is an aspirational audience that they would like to talk to and we are happy to deliver that. 

What is The Telegraph’s readership base as reflected in IRS 2019 Q1?
The Telegraph’s AIR for Kolkata is 3.38 lakh, while TR for Kolkata is 7.20 lakh. 

How has your content strategy aided in growing the readership base?
The Telegraph has always positioned itself as a thought leader. The fearless journalism and the ability to put forward a view no matter how unpleasant it may be on matters of national and international importance, has made it stand out amongst competing brands. On the other hand, it is a compendium for things happening in the city. No matter where one may come from, The Telegraph is the best guide to someone who stays or lives in the city of Kolkata. At the same time, we acknowledge the need for non news content amongst our readers. Thus, The Telegraph since its inception has always offered special interest sections for various members of the family and hence, has gained acceptance as the preferred family newspaper. We continue to refresh our product on all these fronts to deliver relevance to our readers. This has helped us retain and attract new readers to our base. 

How has the advertiser traction for print been?
While the ratio of ad spends maybe changing, but we still see traction for print across most advertisers and brands, depending on their campaign objectives. Retail, Education, FMCG, Automobiles, Durables, and E-commerce are still advertising considerably with us. 

What is your take on the debate on AIR v/s TR?
Given the changing lifestyles, frequency of reading is undergoing a change too. In many cases, the frequency of reading may not be exactly matching a publication’s periodicity. Thus, in the near term TR will be a handy tool to gaze the universe of readership for a publication, while AIR will continue to be a measure of the intensity of readership. 

Where do you see print headed in the digital era?
We believe that print news media will continue to play a major role in the digital era and it will play a complimentary role to the digital media. In this era of media explosion and availability of news, what will be of utmost importance is ‘credibility’ and that is where print media has an edge and an anchor role to play. 

What are the factors that are driving print’s growth today?
Delivering content relevance to readers, increasing reach and penetration of markets by print marketeers and assuring credibility of news in the printed form are driving print growth. 

What has been the political advertising like on print for the 2019 General Elections?
Political advertising has been a buoyant force in 2019. The multi-phased elections and availability of local editions has helped political parties in micro zoning their campaigns. Thus, the frequency and quantum of political advertising has gone up, driving overall growth. 

How do you view the growing number of readers on publications’ online editions? Do you see these numbers overtaking print readership in the future?
In a digital era, this is bound to happen. But both mediums will complement each other. In the near future, measurement science will have to develop effective ways of capturing and reporting the combined readership of both these mediums. Thus, for news media companies, this is a huge area of opportunity rather than a threat. 

Now that the IRS will be a quarterly report, how will it impact the readership data?
A quarterly IRS is a welcome development as it will bring about stability, consistency and credibility to print media readership data. It will also inject a currency of recency to measurement data, which, in turn, will increase effectiveness of media planning and buying decisions.


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