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Total readership better metric than AIR, says Rishi Darda of Lokmat

The Joint Managing Director of Lokmat Media Group said magazines have no future and only niche ones could work. The media group also believes title-based readership, including digital, will increase revenue of publishers and help them take on giants such as Facebook and Google

Rishi Darda

The industry should move to total readership instead of average issue readership as the former was a better metric and gave a clearer picture, Rishi Darda, Joint Managing Director, Lokmat Media Group, told

Darda said, “We believe that TR should be the metric, so that it brings all the platforms on the same yardstick. The discussion should start moving to total readership. Having said that, we have not experienced any drop in our numbers in terms of these metrics. Staying relevant to our readers and to the younger population is most important."

Several industry players have been debating whether to scrap the AIR based on yesterday's readership metric as it depicted no growth in readership of papers. A few industry leaders have suggested AIR on three-day metric is a better standard for the newspaper industry.

Speaking on the sudden jump in increase of readership numbers for magazines, Darda said that the future of magazines was not too bright despite an increase in readership as per IRS2017. “I don’t think there is any future for magazines unless you are in a niche area – like golfing, housekeeping," he said.

"Earlier, people would read one or two news articles on an important subject in the newspapers. But now, for a big story, you find three to five pages and then there is nothing left for the reader to read after a week, which is the minimum frequency of a magazine. Say for budget, earlier only the pink papers would cover it in detail but not everyone does. Every possible angle of budget is covered. What more can a magazine tell?" Darda added.

The Lokmat group believes that title-based readership, including the digital numbers, would give a push to the industry and revenues would pick up.

Karun Gera

"If we have to fight Google and FB, we need these numbers and this is where the opportunity lies, this is more revenue, which is today not coming to me at all,” said Karun Gera, President, Ad Sales, Lokmat.

IRS 2017 had released a single figure on digital readership, which stated that 4% of the reading population reads newspapers online. Many in the industry, along with Gera, believe title-based digital readership would have helped.

“It will help in generating revenues. At the end of the day, we are living in a world where all publishers have digital footprint and since it is there, it has become an integrated programme where you offer value for money to the advertiser. The micro view is that if we get this number, print revenues might fall. The macro view is that with this number, my market is suddenly expanding," he said.

Talking about IRS2017 as a reliable readership measurement currency for the print industry, Gera said, “IRS 2017 has put currency back in the market. For the last four years, there was nothing that the print media could be evaluated on and plans were being made on readership numbers that were as old as 2012.”

While throwing some numbers up from the IRS, Gera said that 10.56% people in Maharashtra can be reached through newspapers every day, while about 10.9% watch TV every day. “In some places, newspapers have a higher penetration. This IRS allows you to optimise the media mix.”

To make the media agencies, especially the young planner, understand the Indian Readership Survey and how to use and study the software, Darda would hold a series of lectures to help them decode the IRS numbers. "IRS is not known to a lot of planners, especially the new lot. We will do series of lectures and sessions for planners and entry-level executives at advertisers," Darda said.

“A lot of planners are simply not ready. Rishi has laid down this vision for us, that we educate the industry to make the right decisions and informed decisions – across agencies, clients and cities. This IRS gives a metric that has gender-specific, age-specific, NCCS-specific and region-specific data for focussed targeting. From any client’s point of view, the more informed decisions you can make, the better it is," Gera said.

Having surpassed Sakal by a huge margin, Lokmat, the group’s Marathi daily, garnered a TR of 1.8 crore versus a 1.03 crore clocked by Sakal in Maharashtra.

Lokmat claimed that it always performed better for the advertiser who looked at urban+rural. This lead on AIR used to translate into the premium on ad rates too.

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Comments (1)
  • AMIT SEN GU- 1 month ago

    Total readership should not be considered as a better metric than AIR as it does not give any indication on regular readers which is the main issue as far clients and print advertising is concerned. Clients are interested in Regular readers , not irregular readers as they find difficult to schedule advertisements in case of irregular readers - because they are not sure about the freequency of reading and thus the noticeability of the advertisement.