The much awaited new Indian Readership Survey (IRS) data was released by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) and Readership Studies Council of India (RSCI) in Mumbai on January 28, 2014. As is known, MRUC and RSCI had awarded the contract for IRS to the Nielsen Company in 2012, which embarked on a pilot study in March 2013, while the IRS field work commenced in May 2013.
As per the latest IRS 2013 data, among the top 10 publications, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, The Times of India, Amar Ujala, Lokmat, Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi have seen decline in their Average Issue Readership (AIR). On the other hand, Hindustan, Daily Thanthi and Rajasthan Patrika have seen marginal rise in AIR.
With the print players still analysing the data garnered, most are cautious about the numbers. Commenting on the latest IRS, Rahul Kansal, Executive President, Brand Function, BCCL said, “It is a bit early to comment on the results of the survey. It has been executed very professionally, but it is difficult to comment on the specific data because there is such little of it available at the moment.”
When asked about how different the new IRS is from the previous one, Paritosh Joshi, Chairman, Technical Committee, MRUC replied, “The most important thing was getting the process right; the whole process had got progressively vitiated from all the expectations people had placed on the IRS, so we needed to tighten the technology and security systems right, we needed to build protections around the data. There have always been accusations against the IRS that the data is compromised, we had to conquer all the criticism. The real hard work for us was to clean up the process, which we have done.”
Earlier, exchange4media spoke to a cross-section of print players to gauge their expectations from the new IRS and found that what they are primarily looking for are robust data, better sample size, geographic reporting and software development.
Joshi said, “Controversy free IRS is the intention; all the stakeholders have played a part in making this happen, everybody should feel convinced that there is integrity around the study.”
He added, “Study will keep gathering more momentum, people need to be patient, because of data fusion we will get more media rich data, better granularity, and many data points.”
Sharing his thought about the latest IRS, Benoy Roychowdhury, Executive Director, HT Media said, “It is one of the largest surveys in the world and seems to have been done with all the care and attention possible.”
He further said, “We have seen the early results, there have been some significant changes, but it will take us sometime to get a better understanding of what is happening. It is only the preliminary results that we have seen, and the top line and that too just for the western part of India. I think we will be in a position to comment once we have more details. But we believe that a lot of care and attention has gone in the survey and it has been executed to the level that we wanted.”
The new survey has considered a sample size of 235,000, covering 32 states and Union Territories across 95 cities and 92 districts. It has also sampled the Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi zones. Nielsen appointed 700 people to conduct the survey in the first year and will add to the numbers as per demand.
With inputs by Priyanka Mehra and Saloni Dutta