The Delhi-NCR region has voted for Hindustan Times as its paper of choice - reinforcing its status as the most widely read newspaper yet again - with the Indian Readership Survey 2014 showing that all HT Media publications have made strong progress in their key markets over IRS 2013.
The IRS 2014 findings - released last Friday - have also confirmed HT's status as the second largest paper in Mumbai, and Mint as the No. 2 among business papers.
In Delhi-NCR, HT has not only grown in absolute numbers — with over 23 lakh readers now — but has also increased its lead over its closest competitor, Times of India, in the past year, to nearly 6.5 lakh readers.
With 14.35 lakh readers in Mumbai, HT is close to two-thirds of TOI's readership in the city - and is bigger than Mumbai Mirror and DNA put together. HT is also the Number 2 paper in Punjab/Chandigarh - with a 31% jump in readership to 2.1 lakh.
Hindustan, HT Media's Hindi offering, has a staggering 1.47 crore daily readers, comfortably making it the second largest newspaper across all languages in the country, while Mint, the second biggest business paper in the country, has registered a 12% growth, and crossed the 3 lakh figure in readership.
The IRS, released by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC), is the largest and most credible survey of its kind in the country, and incorporates innovative changes introduced last year in its methodology to make it more scientific and secure - it now has a more representative sample size; it is based on a computerized rather than pen and paper method; it asks readers what they have read in the past month rather than the past year; and it is based on 2011 census figures.
The latest IRS findings confirm HT's dominance on other parameters as well, especially the quality of the readership. In Delhi-NCR alone, there are over 18 lakh readers who only read HT and not ToI; and HT's lead is 5.8 lakh among the most educated and affluent segment of the market, termed New Consumer Classification System (NCCS)-A in industry circles. In Mumbai, too, over nine lakh readers have opted to read only HT and not ToI - and 70% of HT's readers are from NCCS-A segment. Mint's appeal in this premier readership segment is exceptionally strong, with 51% readers belonging to the NCCS A1 and 87% to NCCS A segment.
Hindustan continues to be Number 1 in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand and a strong Number 2 in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. If the five Hindi states are taken together, Hindustan is the largest publication, ahead of both Dainik Jagran (with its 1.39 crore readers) and Amar Ujala (67.3 lakh readers).
HT's success in the Capital is a reflection of its continued engagement with readers, through its journalism and civic campaigns.
Clean My Delhi, HT for Delhi, HT for Gurgaon, HT for Noida and Ghaziabad, and now a new HT South Delhi raise issues that strike at the core of local concerns of readers, besides firmly keeping an eye on the big national picture.