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Even for Generation Y, newspaper reading remains a habit

January 19, 2018 15:18 IST

Newspaper readership was 50 per cent in the 16-19 year age group, the highest in any age segment, followed by 42 per cent each in the 12-15 years and 20-29 year age group.

According to the Indian Readership Survey 2017 (IRS 2017), newspapers added more than 110 million new readers since the last survey in 2014.


The total readership (includes readers who have read the newspaper in the last one month) in IRS 2014 was 295 million.

This number grew by 40 per cent over the next three year to reach 407 million.

The IRS is brought out by the Readership Studies Research Council of India (RSCI) and the Media Research Users Council (MRUC).

Thirty-nine per cent of the population (above 12 years of age) read newspapers (all India).

The bulk of this new readership has come from rural India. In urban India, 53 per cent consumed newspapers while in rural India, 31 per cent consumed newspapers.

While in the 2014 survey, rural India recorded total newspaper readership of 143 million, in IRS 2017, rural readership of newspapers was 214 million.

Urban areas also saw increase in readership from 152 million in IRS 2014 to 193 million in IRS 2017.

A large part of the readership increase has come from the launch of new publications.

The increase in readership in rural areas is also reflective of the literacy rates in these regions improving.

Ashish Bhasin, chairman, MRUC, and chairman and CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network says, "According to the findings of the report, 39 per cent of Indians (above 12 years of age)read newspapers, and 20 per cent of all newspaper readers in the 5 million plus population towns read newspapers online."

The total universe for IRS 2017 expanded to 1.05 billion from 962 million in IRS 2014 (12 years and above), and of these, four per cent consumed news on digital as well.

Nearly 5 million people read newspapers only through digital while the rest consumed news using a combination of media.

The survey shows that newspaper reading (hard copy) is still a habit among the younger demographic.

Newspaper readership was 50 per cent in the 16-19 year age group, the highest in any age segment, followed by 42 per cent each in the 12-15 years and 20-29 year age group.

Hindi dailies saw a huge spurt in readership despite a healthy base of 121 million readers in IRS 2014.

According to IRS 2017 data, Hindi dailies saw a 45 per cent surge in readership to reach 176 million. Gujarati dailies saw a similar growth spurt (45 per cent) albeit on a smaller base (16 million in IRS 2014 to 23 million in IRS 2017.

English dailies saw 10 per cent increase in readership from 25 million in IRS 2014 to 28 million IRS 2017.

Magazines almost doubled readership according to IRS 2017 from 40 million in IRS 2014 to 78 million in the latest report.

Here the growth has come from the urban areas which added 22 million readers while rural India added 17 million readers.

In percentage terms, a total of seven per cent of the universe read magazines in 2017, 12 per cent of urban India and five per cent of rural India contributed to magazine readership.

After numerous grievances about the data in 2013 and 2014, the committee behind the IRS took a step back to update the methodology and security measures while conducting the survey.

As a result, the survey has been released after a gap of three years.

The sample size for IRS 2017 is the largest ever at 320, 000 respondents.

The reach of different media also saw a hike when compared to IRS 2017.

Television led the roster 75 per cent reach (10 per cent higher than IRS 2014), followed by newspapers at 39 per cent reach (eight per cent more than IRS 2014) followed by radio and internet at 19 per cent each.

Magazines registered a reach of five percent while cinema was at three per cent.

Photograph: Reuters

Dilasha Seth in New Delhi