Readership on decline in Himachal Pradesh

The results of the second round, of the Indian Readership Survey (IRS, R2, 2009) for this year are out, and the picture is dismal for Himachal. Newspaper and magazine readership inhimachal hindi newspaper Himachal has seen a major decline across periodicity and across languages. However, this has to be seen in context of circulation figures of newspapers, as readership is calculated on basis of a sample size, which represents the universe of 54,41,000 individuals in the state. Meanwhile, it can be contested that circulation figures too can be fudged by publication houses by bringing out extra copies and selling them as raddi.

As literacy grows, Himachalis are reading fewer publications. The maximum loss has been borne by Hindi newspapers, which have lost 29,000 average issue readers (AIR) since R1, 2009, when the category’s AIR was 9.42 lakh. While MRUC (Media Research Users Council) that conducts the readership survey, does suggest usage of total readership (TR), which includes casual readers like in shops or as guests, advertisers and media buyers vouch for average issue readers, i.e. regular readers. They argue that anything outside average issue readers cannot be ascertained and can be a spillover. We’ll here go by AIR.

himachal readership survey 1 himachal readership survey 2

himachal readership survey chart 2

English dailies too have lost an AIR of 3,000, down from 72,000 in R1. In terms of percentage points, the biggest loss has come to English monthlies, which have shed more than 20 per cent AIR. The only gainers in Himachal is the English Weekly category that has added 3,000 average issue readers to its R1 count of 16,000 a gain 18.75 per cent.

While it’s gloom throughout, three publications have something to cheer about. Divya Himachal in the Hindi dailies category and The Tribune and The Times of India in the English dailies category have gained substantial readers. The top two – Amar Ujala and Punjab Kesari, though have retained the leadership position in the Hindi dailies category, both have tanked 22,000 average issue readers, respectively. Their loss seems to be the gain of Divya Himachal, which has gained 42,000 readers, a gain of more than 47 per cent. Dainik Jagran too has had an AIR loss of 10,000.

In the English dailies category, Hindustan Times is the biggest loser, which has lost 7,000 average issue readers. In percentage points the loss is more than 30 per cent. Himachal readers seem to be showing some interest in business news too, as Economic Times, from the Times of India group has added an AIR 1,000, since R1 to take the figure up to 4,000. In percentage points, the gain is above 33 per cent.

himachal newspaper himachal newspaper 1

himachal newspaper 2

(Figures above are ‘000s)

The Tribune and The Times of India, both, have gained an AIR of 2,000 and 3,000 respectively. In spite of the loss, The Tribune is still the leader in the state, with an AIR of 47,000. How much desperate the youth of the state are to become IAS officers or join HAS – the state’s own civil services, is evident from the fact that the No 2 English publication in the state, after The Tribune is not Hindustan Times, nor Times of India, but Competition Success Review, which has an AIR of 45,000, a loss of 2,000, since R1, 2009.

R1 survey is for the period July – December 2008 and R2 survey is for the period January – June 2009

This is a guest post by Juiin.

Click here for Readership survey report 2010

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17 Responses to "Readership on decline in Himachal Pradesh"

  1. Noor   November 27, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Very well culled out data, and brilliantly written report… Puts a lot in perspective…

    Reply
  2. Noor   November 27, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Very well culled out data, and brilliantly written report… Puts a lot in perspective…

    Reply
  3. Pingback: भीगी बिल्ली » Readership in Himachal on the decline

  4. Geetali   November 27, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    This is a significant finding and one which ought to disturb any self-respecting newspaper owner and editor. If readership is falling, there are many factors. The all-pervasive intrusion of television into the news arena. TV offers news up to the minute, is an audio-visual medium and one that does not require any literacy. And certainly, I won’t go into the sensationalist aspect of Indian TV news channels which have taken irresponsible reporting to new depths.
    Then, there is the problem of low journalistic and editorial standards in newspapers. On any given day, I could point out at least half a dozen typos, not to mention errors of grammar and syntax.
    There is also that little thing called writing a readable report. The reason why we readers lap up articles by senior journos like Prem Shankar Jha, Tavleen Singh and the late Prabhash Joshi was because not only was their analysis top-notch, their style of writing was distinctive and one of flair. I’m sorry to say that the analytical skills of many a journalist leave a lot to be desired and reports appear to have been written in a hurry and investigated in an even greater hurry.
    I have one last bone to pick with the English papers. We get little news of Himachal – with only one page devoted to this state’s news in the bigger dailies like TOI, or HT. The news is all about Punjab – to the extent that one would think the entire country comroises of only one state and Himachal is just incidental!
    .-= Geetali´s last blog ..Impossible stone… crumpled water… =-.

    Reply
  5. Geetali   November 28, 2009 at 12:30 am

    This is a significant finding and one which ought to disturb any self-respecting newspaper owner and editor. If readership is falling, there are many factors. The all-pervasive intrusion of television into the news arena. TV offers news up to the minute, is an audio-visual medium and one that does not require any literacy. And certainly, I won’t go into the sensationalist aspect of Indian TV news channels which have taken irresponsible reporting to new depths.
    Then, there is the problem of low journalistic and editorial standards in newspapers. On any given day, I could point out at least half a dozen typos, not to mention errors of grammar and syntax.
    There is also that little thing called writing a readable report. The reason why we readers lap up articles by senior journos like Prem Shankar Jha, Tavleen Singh and the late Prabhash Joshi was because not only was their analysis top-notch, their style of writing was distinctive and one of flair. I’m sorry to say that the analytical skills of many a journalist leave a lot to be desired and reports appear to have been written in a hurry and investigated in an even greater hurry.
    I have one last bone to pick with the English papers. We get little news of Himachal – with only one page devoted to this state’s news in the bigger dailies like TOI, or HT. The news is all about Punjab – to the extent that one would think the entire country comroises of only one state and Himachal is just incidental!
    .-= Geetali´s last blog ..Impossible stone… crumpled water… =-.

    Reply
  6. Bheegi Billi   November 28, 2009 at 6:02 am

    I had spoken in detail last time about the ills, what ails the Himachal press, and even dear friends thought that I’d reached my peak of insanity for picking up cudgels against some cushioned editors in Shimla. Probably, these friends find themselves in a cushioned state, while getting a pension. Nityin probably remembers the thread. But may be Geetali can take a peak at it Newsprint getting bigger in Himachal as…

    Reply
    • NITYIN   November 28, 2009 at 8:42 am

      Have been searching for this link since yesterday. I guess it has been removed from Himvani site… The debate in comments is more interesting than the article itself. Readers please do click on the link above!!

      Reply
  7. Bheegi Billi   November 28, 2009 at 11:02 am

    I had spoken in detail last time about the ills, what ails the Himachal press, and even dear friends thought that I’d reached my peak of insanity for picking up cudgels against some cushioned editors in Shimla. Probably, these friends find themselves in a cushioned state, while getting a pension. Nityin probably remembers the thread. But may be Geetali can take a peak at it Newsprint getting bigger in Himachal as…

    Reply
    • NITYIN   November 28, 2009 at 1:42 pm

      Have been searching for this link since yesterday. I guess it has been removed from Himvani site… The debate in comments is more interesting than the article itself. Readers please do click on the link above!!

      Reply
  8. Bonjour   November 30, 2009 at 7:43 am

    An interesting read about the status of Print Media in HP. I just wanted to know few things though.

    1. Is the seasonality factored in for R2 (Jan-June 2009)? as the Jan-April months in most of the hill district are peak winter season and snowfall affects the paper reach.

    2. Being a scientific exercise and the sample size(?) represent the universe of 54.41 Lakh individuals.(what is the sample size in this case)

    i hope the R3 survey figure will be bouncing back to R1 level, considering the seasonal factors like festivals etc. to name a few.

    Reply
  9. Bonjour   November 30, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    An interesting read about the status of Print Media in HP. I just wanted to know few things though.

    1. Is the seasonality factored in for R2 (Jan-June 2009)? as the Jan-April months in most of the hill district are peak winter season and snowfall affects the paper reach.

    2. Being a scientific exercise and the sample size(?) represent the universe of 54.41 Lakh individuals.(what is the sample size in this case)

    i hope the R3 survey figure will be bouncing back to R1 level, considering the seasonal factors like festivals etc. to name a few.

    Reply
  10. Bheegi Billi   December 1, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Well, I don’t think that Jan-April months get affected by snow as far as paper reach is concerned. The same can be true for months like Nov-December and monsoon months. Also, the sample size from these far flung areas is low, and bulk of readership is coming from urban areas.

    There is no R3. There will be R1 for 2010 now. So there is no possibility of bouncing figures to R1. Fragmentation is mainly due to the youth not reading newspapers.

    An interesting trend is emerging. Divya Himachal had become a household name because of it local flavour. I believe that it inculcated the newspaper reading habit in Himachal rural, because of hyper local news. But Dainik Jagran and Amar Ujala later catered national news. But that was an initial period. Now the national news is fed by the penetration of TV. So demand for local news in newspapers is coming back, hence I believe that Divya Himachal has gained readership and substantially by 42,000. Remember that is AIR. TR could be much much higher. The same can be true for The Tribune gaining readership. HT brought out a new flavour initially and people switched. Having sampled the newspapers, people are going back to the favourite.

    These are my assumptions, and not scientific study. You can trash my thought process.
    .-= Bheegi Billi´s last blog ..Readership in Himachal on the decline =-.

    Reply
  11. Bheegi Billi   December 1, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Well, I don’t think that Jan-April months get affected by snow as far as paper reach is concerned. The same can be true for months like Nov-December and monsoon months. Also, the sample size from these far flung areas is low, and bulk of readership is coming from urban areas.

    There is no R3. There will be R1 for 2010 now. So there is no possibility of bouncing figures to R1. Fragmentation is mainly due to the youth not reading newspapers.

    An interesting trend is emerging. Divya Himachal had become a household name because of it local flavour. I believe that it inculcated the newspaper reading habit in Himachal rural, because of hyper local news. But Dainik Jagran and Amar Ujala later catered national news. But that was an initial period. Now the national news is fed by the penetration of TV. So demand for local news in newspapers is coming back, hence I believe that Divya Himachal has gained readership and substantially by 42,000. Remember that is AIR. TR could be much much higher. The same can be true for The Tribune gaining readership. HT brought out a new flavour initially and people switched. Having sampled the newspapers, people are going back to the favourite.

    These are my assumptions, and not scientific study. You can trash my thought process.
    .-= Bheegi Billi´s last blog ..Readership in Himachal on the decline =-.

    Reply
  12. Bonjour   December 2, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Looking forward for R1, 2010 survey analysis.

    Reply
  13. Bonjour   December 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Looking forward for R1, 2010 survey analysis.

    Reply
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