The Indian Readership Survey 2013, which has come out with estimates of the readership of various newspapers is, in relation to The Hindu, so riddled with inconsistencies and with findings that defy common sense and reach the level of absurdity that its credibility has been totally damaged.
IRS claims the readership of English language newspapers as a whole plummeted from 1.82 crore to 1.49 crore during the assessment period last year, a loss of 33.5 lakh. Three of the four southern States show a sharp decline in readership of all English dailies — by as much as 55 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, 38 per cent in Tamil Nadu and 23 per cent in Kerala.
The survey throws up the surprise finding that Karnataka alone saw a growth in English language readership. Much of the IRS data fly in the face of a 2 per cent growth in circulation last year for The Hindu in Tamil Nadu, even with a cover price increase.
For The Hindu, IRS 2013 claims a dramatic — and improbable — decline in readership in Madurai over the last one year. Here, 44,000 readers representing 92 per cent of the total have disappeared. The Hindu has a circulation of 33,570 copies in Madurai city while IRS puts the readership at 4,000. Even in Chennai, while circulation figures were maintained, the readership is shown to have dropped by 180,000 readers or a significant 35 per cent.
It is a statistical improbability that a copy of The Hindu has a readership of 0.1 in Madurai and 0.6 in Coimbatore. The lack of credibility of IRS 2013 data is evident from the finding that Business Line, a sister publication of The Hindu, has nil readers in Chennai and Mumbai where the circulation is 20,520 and 21,716 copies respectively.
A survey of this type with so many inaccuracies and absurd conclusions is of little value to readers, advertisers and publishers, and The Hindu is seeking the immediate withdrawal of the survey results.
Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu