Latest IRS findings are the bone of contention in the print industry once again.
After one week of the release of IRS 2014, leading print publishers have reacted with their opinion on the front pages of their publications. (What's new? Certainly not IRS 2014, says Times of India)
The Hindu calls the latest survey as a stale wine served in new bottle. Dainik Jagran also shares the same view. While Amar Ujala feels IRS 2014 is misleading.
In their report, Rajiv Lochan, CEO and MD, Kasturi Sons (The Hindu) said, “The recently released Indian Readership Survey 2014 has left many publications dissatisfied, some with the methodology, others with the execution.”
In the statement, he pointed out that it was imperative to ensure that the underlying problems with the survey are addressed even though it showed that many publications have grown in readership, making it convenient to use these figures to commercial advantage.
The statement further elaborates: For example, Dainik Jagran has grown readership by 7 per cent to 166.3 lakh, Dainik Bhaskar by 8 per cent to 138.3 lakh, Amar Ujala by 10 per cent to 78 lakh, Times of India has grown readership by 5 per cent to 75.9 lakh and The Hindu by 10 per cent to 16.2 lakh.
He recalled that IRS 2013 was condemned by 18 leading newspaper groups of the country, which had called it ‘badly flawed’. In a statement issued in public interest, the newspapers had said: “The survey is riddled with shocking anomalies, which defy logic and common sense. They also grossly contradict audited circulation figures (ABC) of long standing.” IRS 2013 was rejected by several media companies, including Dainik Bhaskar, the Jagran Group, Kasturi & Sons Limited, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd (publishers of The Times of India ) and Amar Ujala.
Many of the results of the 2013 survey were inexplicable, he said, adding that it showed that The Hindu BusinessLine had three times as many readers in Manipur than in Chennai. Other anomalies included, Hitavada , the leading English newspaper of Nagpur with a certified circulation of over 60,000, as not having a single reader. Several media houses have subsequently withdrawn from the IRS membership with Kasturi & Sons Limited being the first to do so in September 2014.
While ‘IRS 2014’ suggests it is a fully independent chapter of the Indian Readership Survey, the fact is that three-fourths of the survey is the same as the discredited IRS 2013 and only one-fourth of the sample is fresh. Worse, the field work for even the so-called ‘fresh sample’ was done in January-February 2014, or over a year ago. The nomenclature ‘IRS 2014’ which leads one to believe that it provides the latest findings for the entire year instead of what it really contains — data that is over a year old and clearly outdated.
“In our letter withdrawing from the IRS, we had, in good faith, sought that our mastheads not be used or the results not shared publicly. Yet that seems to have been ignored in ‘IRS 2014’. We look forward to a time when the IRS will actually produce a survey that is widely accepted both in methodology and in execution,” he said.
While Dainik Jagran highlights, “The sample size has been taken only for Jan- Feb 2014 and released on the basis of entire year.”