The print industry has gone without fresh readership numbers 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 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.
Arun Natesh, Marketing Head, Business Standard remarked, “The print industry has been without a currency for a long time now. Planners and marketers end up relying on dated information, which can prove to be costly. An additional delay is only going make matters worse. Despite having some of the brightest minds, we are seeing delays. But in all fairness, given the complexity, delays are probably inevitable.”
He hoped that that the revalidation exercise will be thorough and all the issues that have been raised by the print players representing multiple publications are satisfactorily addressed. “If not, we are bracing for a longish standoff, which can prove to be very detrimental,” he cautioned.
Echoing similar sentiment, KK Goyenka, Managing Director, Prabhat Khabar said that print publisher are feeling cheated. He said, “Obviously we are feeling the impact and it is affecting the business. We are still using old numbers. However, we are expecting a quick solution.”
On the other hand, Varghese Chandy, Senior General Manager, Malayala Manorama said, “What has not affected in the last six months, will not affect in the next six weeks. It is for a reason that the validation committee has been appointed and it is better that we all wait for the final clearance from the respective bodies.”
“Having said that, we hope that the checking and alerts will help IRS be more robust. We definitely need a strong readership survey acceptable by all the stakeholders,” he added.
Chandy further said, “I must also say that ABC is re-emerging as a strong currency in the absence any readership survey as it is audited numbers and, therefore, more credible than the estimated readership figures.”
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.