Hindi dailies reign despite overall readership losses in HP; Amar Ujala remains No. 1


In the first part we discussed the over all loss in readership in Himachal Pradesh. Here we take a look at how individual publications (The Top 20 on the readership rank table) have fared.

By: Dhaleta Surender Kumar *
In spite of a loss of one lakh total readership (TR), Amar Ujala still is the most read publication in Himachal Pradesh, as per the latest findings of the Indian Readership Survey 2008 Round 2 (IRS 2008 R2), conducted by Media Research Users Council (MRUC). Amar Ujala, in IRS 2008 R1 had a TR of 13.77 lakh in the state. At no 2 is Punjab Kesari with a TR of 11.18 lakh, a loss of 91,000 readers. In fact the top five in the state – Amar Ujala, Punjab Kesari, Dainik Bhaskar, The Tribune and Dainik Jagran, in that order – are the same, as in the previous round of the top publications list.


The publications on the top ten list in the state that have fallen in ranking since the last round are Reader’s Digest, India Today (Hindi) and Sarita. The publication that has been ousted from the top 10 list is Madhur Kathayen, which is at No 13 this time.

Publications, which have improved their ranking are Hindustan Times (TR of 72,000 in R2), which has moved up from the eighth position to No 6 in this round, though with a TR loss of 7,000; India Today English (TR of 64,000), which has climbed up four notches from the 12th position to no 8. It has gained 15,000 readers since the last round. Other publications in top-20 that have gained readers since the last round include Grehlakshmi and Diamond Cricket (Hindi), which have gained 6,000 and 25,000 readers respectively since the last round. The gain by the latter seems implausible. It is quite possible that Diamond Cricket (Hindi) may not have been reported in the last round.

But what about the major losses to newspapers like Amar Ujala and Punjab Kesari? Media analyst A S Raghunath says, “Let’s look at it like this – overall, the loss to Hindi dailies is only 11,000. Although both Amar Ujala and Punjab Kesari may have collectively lost a TR of close to two lakh, this loss is somebody’s gain eventually. It could be the dailies that have not been reported.” He feels that Hindi dailies in Himachal “have neglected promotions”. Comparing this with the neighbouring Punjab he says, “In Punjab, it’s a different scenario, where Dainik Bhaskar changed the entire metrics with invitation cover price and strong promotions. The other dailies have also geared to defend their turf.”

End notes:
Media planners revise their rate cards of advertisements with every round of IRS. Hence comparisons generally are made with the previous round.

MRUC also suggests that TR rather than AIR (average issue readership) be taken into account. While AIR is counted as a person who’s read a publication yesterday, if it’s a daily, or in the last week, if it’s a weekly or in the last 15 days, if it’s a fortnightly, or in the last one month, if it’s a monthly and henceforth.

Anybody who’s read a publication any time, above zero, comes under TR. TR is actually the total reach, and is taken into account here as advertisers generally look for the reach and not just to a segment.

The comparisons here have been made between R2 and R1 of 2008, even though MRUC suggests R2 be compared with R2 of previous years, and similarly, R1 with R1 of the previous years.

A publication which is not found in less than five per cent of the respondents sampled are generally not reported. In some cases, publications have even advised MRUC to not report them in the survey. While, MRUC may not report these publications separately, but their counts are certainly taken into account in the overall tally, as somebody surely has read them.

For the record, while the readership of Dainik Tribune may reflect in the TR of all publications, it was neither reported separately in the last round, nor has been reported in the latest round. So don’t be surprised if one doesn’t find it in the Top 20 list (see chart). My guess is that had it been reported separately, it should figure somewhere between the fifth and seventh rank, somewhat equal to Dainik Jagran.

Also, Divya Himachal is missing out from the survey this time, and has not been reported separately. In the last round Divya Himachal had a TR of 4.68 lakh, which put it ahead of Daink Bhaskar. As it doesn’t figure in this round, here too, I’ve left it out from the R1 rankings as well, only for the sake of fair comparison. There can be arguments against the seclusion, but then Dainik Tribune should be accounted as well. Both these dailies may have chosen not to be reported or their respondents may have been less than the threshold levels, hence I’ve left them out from the rankings (and Divya Himachal from the R1 rankings as well).

Other two dailies that have not bee reported separately are Indian Express and Jansatta. If you calculate the losses to individual publications, the figure may go high and may not match the figure of the losses to all publications, which is very less. This is because of these publications, which though have not been reported separately, do count in the TR.

When HimVani published my report on the media scenario earlier, which was based on Audit Bureau of Circulation mostly, there were questions raised by some journalist friends in Jansatta, Shimla, because I did not mention the daily. This time again, Jansatta remains absent from my report, as the publication continues to miss being featured in the IRS 2008.

* Dhaleta Surender Kumar is a New Delhi based media analyst.

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A perfect story-teller, who is madly in love with the hills. Shimla is his first love, and probably the last too. Won't get tired reading Rudyard Kipling. Hopes to pick up poetry again soon.

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