The latest IRS findings have come under some intense flak from the print media industry, with the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) asking MRUC to withdraw the latest IRS 2013 findings. On the other hand, some industry experts feel that ideally there should be no comparisons made between the previous rounds of IRS and the new one since the methodologies are different and there are likely to be differences in data. This is something that MRUC and RSCI has been reiterating.
exchange4media spoke to some industry experts to find out what they have to say about the latest IRS findings and their impact on the South market.
Narendra Kumar Alambara, COO, Sovereign Media Marketing, which publishes Tamil daily Dina Thanthi, said, “Publishers and agencies have already flagged issues and discrepancies in the new data. But, the glaring and recurring aspect raised seems to be that of the reported readership of publications being lower than the audited circulation in a market.”
Varghese Chandy, Chief General Manger, Marketing & Advertising Sales, Malayala Manorama remarked, “The mistake that IRS 2013 did was not to have referred to ABC, which is the most authentic source for circulation. It has audited results published every six months after rigorous checks and measures. It is like the Census data, where every single household is contacted. It is absolutely beyond anybody’s understanding why this was not done. This is the only way in which MRUC can realise if there are huge anomalies, so that they can cross check the data, and if required revisit the areas.”
Chandy also added, “There are so many anomalies that we have found in the data. Some of them have been already reported. We have found some ridiculous findings such as illiterates reading publications, young age group of 15-19 listed as post graduates, etc. Their clubbing of districts shows basic lack of understanding of the states. For example, Ernakulum, the commercial hub of Kerala, is not reported separately and is clubbed with a few other districts. SECs and NCCS classification shows huge variation. There is a huge volatility in the data and it does not reflect market realities. Some of the findings, as listed here, defy even common sense and logic. It shows the amateurish way of conducting a survey and we cannot accept their findings.”
Comparing the new IRS with the earlier one, KRP Reddy, Director, Advertising & Marketing, Sakshi Group said, “The earlier IRS had more credibility because there was a close correlation between the ABC numbers and the readership numbers. The earlier survey has been reflecting the ground reality. Since the debut, figures have been growing steadily round after round. However, there have been minor anomalies with regards to a few editions, but there was an overall sync with the circulation numbers and the atmosphere prevailing in the State and the Nation. But, the present readership survey is riddled with plenty of anomalies, particularly with Sakshi Telugu daily.”
Citing an example, Reddy said that Sakshi’s print edition in Bangalore and the ABC certified figure is 23,575 (JJ2013), for which the readership given is 5,000, whereas for the New Delhi edition, the ABC certified circulation is 1,580 (JJ 2013), for which the readership given is 3,000 copies. Such figures, according to him, cannot be substantiated. Similarly, the two neighbouring districts with the same SEC the readership per copy varies from 1.8 to 3.
Reacting to the latest development of INS asking the MRUC to withdraw the IRS 2013 results, experts believe that this is the right thing to do as such data can have an adverse effect in the long run.