MUMBAI: By adding 600,000 new readers over 2017, The Economic Times continues to be India’s fourth-largest English newspaper with a total readership of 3.7 million readers, as per the latest Indian Readership Survey (IRS) data released by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) on Friday. This represents growth of over 19% for ET, compared with the total growth of 14% in the English newspaper category.
Across business newspapers, ET is ahead by more than half of the combined readership of the other four newspapers — Hindu Business Line, Business Standard, Mintand Financial Express — which have a total readership of less than 2.4 million.
Total readership (TR) is the number of readers who have read the newspaper at least once in the previous 30 days, while average issue readership (AIR) is the number of readers who have read the paper the previous day. ET’s AIR has increased by 5% to 983,000 readers. This represents an increase of 45,000 daily readers. All other business newspapers together have an AIR of 647,000. That’s 52% lower than ET’s daily readership.
80% of ET Readers from NCCS A Category
Till the time of filing this story IRS had not released the data for Hindustan Times, so ET currently appears at No 3 in the all-India rankings for English dailies.
The gains in total readership have come primarily from the top cities — 400,000 of the 600,000 new readers have come from Mumbai, Delhi (including Gurgaon), Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Over 75% have come from the coveted NCCS A socio-economic category. Over a third of the new readers belong to the elite NCCS A1 category. As a result, 80% of ET’s total readers now belong to the NCCS A category. Over 60% of the new readers are young, below the age of 30 years, and a total of nearly 500,000 of the 600,000 new readers are below the age of 40 years.
Reflecting the newspaper’s longstanding focus on emerging businesses and its dedicated coverage of startups and the new economy segments, ET’s share of young readers (below 40 years) has jumped to 73%. Despite ET’s high reader base, over 89% of our readers do not read any other business paper and only 14% spend less than 15 minutes on the paper (the lowest percentage for any business paper). Over 85% of our readers spend more than 15 minutes with the paper on any given day.
Out of the top five English dailies, three were from the Times Group, with The Times of India leading the pack with a TR of 15.23 million and AIR of 5.65 million. ET was at number three (without HT data), while Mumbai Mirror was placed fourth with TR of 2.16 million and AIR of 800,000.
The survey considers population of over 12 years of age across urban and rural India. The reporting sample size for this survey was 324,000 households.
IRS data shows that in contrast to the global trend where print media is on a slippery wicket, Indians still like to read newspapers as well as magazines.
The IRS Q1 2019 data includes the annual total of three quarters of IRS 2017 and Q1 fieldwork of IRS 2019 (December 2018 – April 2019).
As per the survey, the number of overall readers, who have read any daily in the last 30 days, has gone up to 425 million, as against 407 million in IRS 2017. Interestingly, urban and rural markets have added an equal number of readers – 9 million each – to the total addition of 18 million.
When it comes to languages, Hindi readers have gone up by 10 million, while regional and English dailies have seen an increase of 8 million and 3 million, respectively. Total number of readers of Hindi, English and regional newspapers have gone up to 186 million, 31 million and 211 million, respectively, as per the data.
Also, out of the total universe, 37.3% of the readers have stated that they have read a newspaper in the previous 30 days, up from 36.8% in the last survey. Meanwhile, 27% of the 24 million most affluent consumers (NCCS A1) are now reading newspapers online. For All India, the number is 5%, while for cities it is at 9%.
Among magazines, total readers have grown from 78 million in the previous survey to 87 million.
On the quarterly release of data, Ashish Bhasin, CEO – Greater South, Dentsu Aegis Network, and chairman, MRUC, said, “This was something that the industry was expecting from IRS over the past several years. Quarterly release of data will enhance the ability of the IRS to mirror the changing media and marketing landscape of India in a more timely and realistic manner.”
Vikram Sakhuja, chairman of the IRS Technical Committee, added, “The data is robust and representative of the diversity and heterogeneity of our wonderful country. 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.”