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IRS 2017: Regional is our new national: Shreyams Kumar M V, Mathrubhumi

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IRS 2017: Regional is our new national: Shreyams Kumar M V, Mathrubhumi

Indian Readership Survey 2017, one of the world's largest surveys, was released on January 18 after a four-year gap. The survey has sparked a number of reactions and discussions among the various players in the industry. It has brought the focus back on print media and the numbers indicate 9% growth in total newspaper readership in last four years. Shreyams Kumar M V, Joint Managing Director of Mathrubhumi chatted with exchange4media and shared his opinion on the same. Excerpts:
What does IRS 2017 mean for publications in regional languages? How do you think it is going to influence the industry in general and ad revenue in particular?

IRS 2017, appears to have ticked all the right boxes, robust sample size, transparency, industry collaboration, auditing methodology, richer qualitative narrative of readership. It will be a foundation for the industry to help bust a lot of myths about the qualitative aspects of readership groups, especially beyond the metros and help decommoditize inventory.

Having recorded 40% growth in readership despite of competing with digital, do you think it is still fair to say that ‘print’ is a departing medium?

I disagree with this statement. Print is here to stay and we need to overcome this notion that print is a dying industry. The future challenge for media will be to enroll digital subscribers and that of journalism will be to generate quality digital content, which those consumers would pay for with satisfaction.

What do you think is the way ahead for regional print publications?

Regional is our new national. Regional publications have experienced a splendid growth vis-à-vis its English counterparts. Growing literacy levels, hyper localisation, penetration and multi edition newspapers are factors responsible for growth in circulation figures of regional players.

How confident are you about the methodology used this time for the survey? Any scope of improvement you expect in next surveys?

As mentioned earlier, it is a robust system in place and is a great step towards fulfilling bigger ambitions.

Do you think these figures (readership data) directly or indirectly affect in influencing readers’ choices in picking up a particular publication?

I think it’s about being used to a habit of reading a particular newspaper and getting used to reading a particular daily that will remain constant to your changing surroundings. 

What would be your expert advice to other publishers of regional language publications?

It is imperative for the print industry to strengthen its long-standing association with high quality legit information. Keeping up with the reputation of newspapers in delivering credible and accurate information, continuously enhance the content experience.

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