The Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2016 data that was slated to be released by January next year, followed by regular quarterly updates, has now been delayed to Q3 of 2017, as exclusively reported by exchange4media.
While enhancement of technology and security measures are the reasons cited by N Sathyamurthy Technical Committee, MRUC for the postponement, we reached to out print players to gauge their reaction to this delay given that previously released IRS data was not fully accepted by all print players and quite controversial .
The Readership Studies Council of India (RSCI), formed jointly by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) and the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) had announced in a press statement in March earlier this year that 2016 IRS data will be released by January next year, followed by regular quarterly updates
However given the large sample size and the fact that the new IRS survey will take into account tier 2 and tier 3 cities, the delay in the survey results has mostly many takers and few adversaries among the print fraternity.
Highlighting the need for a robust and fool-proof survey, Varghese Chandy Vice President, Malayala Manorama said, “Strictly speaking, we do not have readership figures for the last four years, since IRS 2012 Q4. IRS 2013 and 2014 were full of controversies and we cannot rely on this. But if we repeat IRS 2013 and 2014 just to avoid delay, again we will land in the same old problems. So what the IRS is doing is the right thing. Now, after all these issues, we need a robust and foolproof survey. By rejecting large portion of first quarter samples, it shows how bad it was. We are in the right direction and this will improve the confidence level of all stakeholders.”
Explaining how the delay would eventually help in bringing out an exhaustive survey report, Anant Nath, Managing Editor, The Caravan and Director of Delhi Press and member of IRS Technical Committee said, “The delay has to do with the big sample size which also includes the tier 2 and tier 3 cities. The survey is trying to ensure that no aspect is left unattended to bring out a very credible survey. Moreover, there are also logistical issues involved given the number of respondents. I would say it is better to have a delayed report than to come out with something which is fast and inaccurate. The other thing to keep in mind is that IRS has been criticised in the past too, so it is better to get delayed than to be criticised for inaccuracies.”
Commenting on the announcement about the delay in IRS survey, Benoy Roychowdhury, Executive Director, HT Media Ltd said, “They are doing their best and let’s hope they eventually come out with the best.”
Underlying the need for timely survey results, Pradeep Dwivedi, CEO, Sakal Media Group said, “Like the rest of industry, we are also disappointed by the inadvertent delay in the release of IRS 2016. However, if the delay is attributable to concurrent fine tuning of the process, especially checks and balances on any process gaps, then same is necessary to have a credible outcome. We hope that MRUC will expedite the same and deliver a truly word class and robust print readership measurement system report soon.”
Chitralekha Group President and Publisher Mitrajit Bhattacharya said, “The long gap in availability of readership data for print is hurting the industry. Hope IRS data get released as soon as possible.”
R Rajmohan, President, Association of Indian Magazines added, “Though it may be seen as a setback but given the detailed work that IRS is doing to come up with credible data, the delay is actually a good thing in that context. When we have waited for four years, waiting for few more months should not become an issue given the larger good that the survey has in mind, which is accurate and reliable data.”
“The delay is bound to impact the media markets since there is no updated IRS data for marketers to rely on. It may even lead to an adverse scenario. I hope the findings are not further delayed and hope the results are better than expected,” added Harivansh, Chief Editor, Prabhat Khabar.
“It has been delayed because of the amount of fieldwork that need to be done and the accuracy of the fieldwork”, commented Kaacon Sethi, Chief Corporate Marketing Officer, Dainik Bhaskar.