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SPARR underscores evolving readership patterns

14-April-2004
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SPARR underscores evolving readership patterns

IRS '03-04 Round 12, while integrating several new steps to lend greater robustness to the survey findings, has fused IRS with a survey on 'Sections, Pullouts & Attitudinal Readership Research (SPARR)'. The objective of this move was underscored at a symposium on the subject organised jointly by Media Research Users Council & Hansa Research Group in New Delhi today.

Speaking on the subject, Roda Mehta, Chairperson, Technical Committee, IRS, said that SPARR was envisaged to keep pace with the evolving needs of buyers and sellers. It was an attempt to break free from the pre-conceived notions about readership habits, she said, while adding that data on the supplements of newspapers had provided a fresh perspective on the overall readership patterns.

Publishers and agencies too felt the need to understand the evolving options for dailies, she noted.

In assessing the sub-metro offerings, for instance, the objective was to go beyond demographics towards sensitive reader analysis.

Keeping the Delhi market in focus, the survey looked at eight dailies--including Navbharat Times, Times of India, Hindustan Times, Punjab Kesari, Hindustan, Dainik Jagran--and 38 pullouts.

Additionally, IRS '03-04 has made several other improvements in its research design, such as resizing the sampling districts, introducing sub-metro sampling and SEC resizing (In Mumbai and Delhi).

Mehta pointed out that the need of the hour was to look beyond the traditional socio-economic region (SCR) paradigm and evolve what is now called the IRS Sampling Districts (ISDs).

In doing so, the focus shifted from publication-wise readership to edition-wise readership. SCRs, per se, assumed population profile homogeneity across a large geographical entity which was "not always true".

ISD is instead a clutch of 'geographically contiguous districts' within an SCR and catered by a 'single edition' of major dailies. What this guarantees is: widespread data, better representation of urban/rural universe and insights at the micro-level.

In the process, 3 SCRs in Andhra Pradesh, for instance, became 13 ISDs. Similarly, 3 SCRs in Bihar became 8 ISDs; 3 SCRs in Karnataka became 12 ISDs, and so on.

The benefits of this exercise were that it threw up consumer profiles, product usage, and media consumption in narrower geographic units. And, micro level optimisation and evaluation became a reality to match, along with edition-wise rates, etc.

IRS '03-04 has also forayed into sub-metro reporting. With the metros expanding horizontally and vertically, the "parts of city" are now seen to be distinct. Hence, the focus on sub-metro reporting.

Taking Delhi as a focus area for sub-metro reporting, Mehta underscored how the responses to press, television, satellite TV and cinema varied between the northern, southern, eastern and western parts.

As per the survey, press in Delhi has an overall penetration of 54.4 per cent. Delhi South tops in this with 63.5 per cent, while Delhi East is at a mere 49 per cent.

Similarly, in the case of TV, Delhi South tops with 88.9 per cent, while Delhi East is at the bottom with 79.4 per cent.

For satellite too, the pattern is pretty much the same, with Delhi South showing 74.1 per cent penetration while Delhi East shows 54.2 per cent penetration.

IRS '03-04 has also focused on resizing SEC in Delhi and Mumbai. "This had to be done while maintaining the purity of the random sampling," Mehta said.

To gain better access to SEC A1 and A2, the survey adopted telephonic interviews as a way of reaching out to a larger number.

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