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Reader base for newspapers up

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, June 18

THE reader base for dailies/newspapers has increased by nearly 20 per cent to 15.6 crore in 2002 from 13.1 crore in 1999.

However, the magazines showed a 22 per cent decline in their readership base to 8.62 crore from 9.38 crore in the same period. The overall reader base in the country grew to 18 crore from 16.3 crore, an increase of 10 per cent in the last two years.

According to the National Readership Study 2002 (NRS 2002) released by the National Readership Studies Council (NRSC) here on Monday, about half (48 per cent) of the 18 crore readers were from the nearly six lakh villages in the country.

Apart from English dailies (in the metros), the vernacular dailies — Hindi, Marathi, Assamese, Bengali, besides South-based newspapers — contributed to the expanding reader base for dailies.

The Hindi daily, Dainik Bhaskar, with a readership of over 1.3 crore in both the urban and rural sectors, topped in readership.

The NRS 2002 had a sample size of over 2,13,000 individuals to track media exposure and changing consumer trends in both the urban and rural sectors, besides the readership of publications.

The study, conducted jointly by research agencies Taylor Nelson Sofres Mode, IMRB and A.C. Nielsen, covered 514 publications (225 dailies and 289 magazines).

Among the other key findings of the study were:

a) More urban housewives now read a daily newspaper (2.54 crore in 2002 as against 2.17 crore in 1999).

b) General interest, film/entertainment and sports magazines suffered an over 25 per cent decline in reader base.

c) The time spent on traditional media, i.e. press, TV, radio and Internet, by the urban audience declined to 13 hours a week from 14 hours a week in 1999.

d) Though TV commanded 72 per cent of the 13 hours spent on traditional media by the urban audience, the average viewing time had slipped to 82 minutes (85 minutes in 1999).

e) Access to cable and satellite channels jumped 31 per cent to 4 crore homes in 2002 (2.9 crore in 1999).

f) Internet access in the country has crossed 60 lakhs.

g) FM audiences in the urban centres expanded even as the number of radio listeners remained stagnant.

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