The print industry has gone without fresh readership numbers for some time now as the revalidation of the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2013 data is taking longer than the stipulated time period.
As is known, the RSCI Managing Committee, at its meeting with the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) Board in Mumbai on February 19, 2014, had decided to hold the IRS 2013 findings in abeyance initially till March 31, 2014. Now, IRS has been kept at abeyance for six more weeks.
Print players admit that keeping IRS data at abeyance has begun to impact the industry. However, marketers are not unduly bothered about lack of fresh numbers and haven’t stopped advertising as numbers are awaited. It’s a general view among the marketers that they don’t rely on numbers.
“While IRS is an important currency, it is just a way of decision making,” said RS Sodhi, Managing Director, Amul India. “I don’t think anyone has stopped advertising, we are continuing with our own judgement. We have our own details and all decision is not relied on the IRS data. Any organisation that wants to advertise in any part of the country is well aware of the area. It comes with experience,” he added.
According to Sanjay Tripathy, Senior Executive Vice President - Head Marketing, Products and Direct Channels, HDFC Life, “Print numbers don’t see short term volatility, hence clients can take calls on slightly dated numbers.” He added, “I have been hearing that it has started affecting the print industry. As an advertiser, we aren’t very big on print, hence it doesn’t impact as much. I wish the revalidation process will resolve the current problem.”
K Ramakrishnan, President - Marketing, Cafe Coffee Day said that they are using the old numbers.
Amit Sharma, CVP - Marketing & Head - Media, Research & Customer Value Management, Max Life Insurance felt, “In my view, the unrest that led to multiple leading media houses asking for withdrawal of IRS 2013 data was borne out of some real operating knowledge and understanding that they would have had.”
He further said, “As an advertiser, we might not be severely impacted by the unavailability of latest IRS data since long term trends and judgement prevail. However, validated results of new positions in the markets/ new players, who entered the market 1-2 years ago and were expecting recognition in the latest version of IRS, would have been impacted. So, some deserving publications might be deprived of due recognition. From a broader perspective, we do not estimate any significant constraints.”
Meanwhile, the longer it takes to revalidate the IRS data, more will be the dissent in the print industry as business and revenues get impacted. One can only hope that the revalidation exercise provides the desired solution.