Audit Bureau of Circulations report shows there is no stopping regional press as print soars

The ABC figures show that while the circulation figures for print publications is on the decline in most developed markets, India shows an unusual spike.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: May 10, 2017 11:36 am
Print media, regional print media, print publications, print publication increase, ABC print figures, regional newspapers, newspapers, India news, Indian Express The growth in print has been powered by Indian languages, the ABC figures show. (Representational Image)

The average number of copies of print media publications in India went up by 2.37 crore between 2006 and 2016, Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), a nonprofit organisation that has been certifying circulation figures of member publications since 1948, has said. This, ABC reported in a release on Monday, translates into a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.87% over this 10-year period.

The ABC’s analysis of the print media industry’s growth over the last decade shows average copies per day rose from 3.91 crore in 2006 to 6.28 crore in 2016, with North Zone showing the biggest CAGR spike of 7.83%. ABC said in a statement that the print medium in India “is thriving, growing and expanding” in spite of “stiff competition” from television, radio and digital industries.

The growth in print has been powered by Indian languages, the ABC figures show. Hindi grew the fastest (CAGR 8.76%) during the 2006-16 decade, a finding that ties in with the fastest circulation growth in the North Zone. Telugu (8.28%), Kannada (6.40%), Tamil (5.51%) and Malayalam (4.11%) followed Hindi. English publications saw a below average growth over the decade, at a mere 2.87%.

india press, india printing business, ABC

“In India, largely regional language newspapers have contributed to the growth,” ABC said in its report. “Newspapers are thinking along the lines of greater local news coverage in order to cater to every segment of consumers as well as readers,” it said in the release.

Comparing the Indian industry to the print medium internationally, the ABC figures show that while the circulation figures for print publications is on the decline in most developed markets, India shows an unusual spike. Circulation rose by 14% and 18% in 2013 and 2014 compared to previous years, slowing to a 12% growth in 2015. During the same years, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany and Japan saw the circulations fall by between 4% and 12%. Only Australia saw a positive growth in circulation numbers for one year in 2014, with 12% more circulations over 2013.

Publishers enroll with ABC as members and voluntarily provide their circulation figures. ABC certifies these figures after conducting a rigorous audit process through over 90 chartered accountants and audit firms empanelled with it. It also carries out surprise visits to the publication’s presses and the markets where it is sold.

ABC certifies circulation figures of its members every 6 months — for the periods January to June, and July to December. It has 967 publications as its members, which includes 910 daily and weekly newspapers, and 57 magazines and annuals across the country.

Apart from the publications, ABC also has media agencies, ad agencies, government organisations, advertisers for print and Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity of the government as its members. These agencies use ABC figures to plan their advertising spends and marketing plans, as the figures are also available at the granular level of towns and cities in all the states where it has member-publications.

The ABC is a founding member of the International Federation of Audit Bureax of Circulation established in 1963. In collaboration with Media Users Research Council, the ABC has set up the Readership Studies Council of India to bring out the annual Indian Readership Survey, the primary survey of print media consumer demographics and the product consumption habits in the country.

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