The Media Users’ Research Council (MRUC) has just signed a three-year contract with Hansa Research for the forthcoming editions of the survey. According to the contract, Hansa has won the IRS mandate till 2012 and this also includes a quarterly IRS study from 2010. The only clash factor that comes here is that a unified study from the MRUC and the National Readership Studies Council (NRSC) is also on the cards, and again planned for 2010.
The unified study from the two companies would mean the suspension of the IRS and the NRS in their current forms and a more robust study put together with the joint efforts of a neutral body created by equal members from the MRUC and the NRSC. Needless to say, with the industry behind it, it would be a coveted study for any agency to handle. Does the MRUC and Hansa contract make Hansa the agency for this unified study?
MRUC and NRSC officials state that that would not be the case. The MRUC-Hansa contract would make Hansa the preferred partner for the study, but the brief would still be open to other agencies.
A Binding Contract?
Speaking on this from the MRUC viewpoint, Bharat Kapadia, Director, Lokmat Group, stated, “Hansa would be the preferred partner, but the final agency would eventually be decided by whatever the new body decides. The new body would take a call on that, but since we are both partners, and it is an integrated study, we would have a consideration on this. Also, Hansa is competent and are the only ones who have been doing readership survey in the last five years.”
From the NRSC standpoint, according to Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director, Madison World, the discussion for the unified survey was on track. Balsara informed that two meetings of the group of four (two members of MRUC and two members of NRSC) had already taken place and a third one was planned for October 6, 2009. A new contract is also underway in the presence of a legal advisor appointed by this group.
Balsara further said, “Our view was that unless the new body takes shape, the current form of readership must continue and the industry should not be deprived of an ongoing study due to changes. I am not the sole decision maker in this, but it is fair to say that Hansa would have a preference by virtue of the long experience, but I would not rule out the possibility of everyone else to compete. In fact, we already have indications from quite a few agencies on this.”
The Exit Clause
It may be recalled that prior to the decision of the two bodies coming together for a unified survey, Hansa was also in conversation with the NRSC for conducting the NRS. The experience in the domain is one factor that would work in Hansa’s favour, and the contract with MRUC does give the impression that Hansa has a strong chance to handle the unified study, but as they say, every agreement has an exit clause.