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Publishers welcome RSCI move to increase sample size by 40%

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Publishers welcome RSCI move to increase sample size by 40%

The much awaited Indian Readership Survey will be released in January next year; the announcement was made by the Readership Studies Council of India (RSCI) recently. 

The Media Research User Council announced that the 2016 IRS data will be released by January next year, followed by regular quarterly updates. The survey has increased its sample size by 40% at an ‘All India’ level, targeting a total of 3.30 lakh respondents, across 91 Individual Districts and 101 District Clusters.

The research body is looking to come up with an error free report and avoid circumstances like last survey. IRS is a credible measurement system and publishers are still judged by the advertisers on this survey.

Sharing his expectations from the upcoming survey, Mitrajit Bhattacharya, Publisher & President, Chitralekha Group and President, AIM said, “Increasing sample size to 3.30 lakh respondent for IRS 2016 is a welcome move. So are the other data capture initiatives taken by RSCI. However, as far as the magazines are concerned, increasing sample size doesn't necessarily address the issue arising from the heterogeneity of distribution of magazines. The newspapers will be better represented on an increased sample size, for sure.”

Monica Nayyar Patnaik, Managing Director, Eastern Media Limited shared that research agency needs to have a rational approach towards research in major cities. She also highlighted that readership of nearby geographical areas sometimes is clubbed under one edition and that should be looked into.

Speaking specifically about the Odisha region she said, “Major thrust should not only be in twin cities of Bhubaneswar & Cuttack but also in other major cities/ districts. Out of 91 districts across India, 32 are in Odisha; don't know what new expansion will hold?”

To ensure reliability of the IRS, the technical committee has enhanced the process of back-checks and included a third party auditor for monitoring the end to end process of survey design and quality control checks. The survey has also added numerous safety enhancement layers, powered by technology. Some of these include a tracker for GPS locations of interviewers, enhanced audio recordings and electronically addressed forms.

Publishers are keeping their finger crossed for the upcoming survey and waiting for positive numbers.

Managing Director of Hindi Daily, Prabhat Khabar, K K Goenka is expecting a fair reflection of data from upcoming IRS results. He said, “We are expecting a fair reflection of data and there should be no confusion like last result. We are hoping for good numbers as there are superior people in the committee.”

Highlighting the thought process, Dainik Bhaskar’s Peter Suresh, Head Business Intelligence Unit suggested three major points. He shared that lot of groundwork has been covered between the disputed IRS reports of 2013/2014 and the current one. There is now a broad consensus on various process measures that have been recommended and implemented to ensure a robust and credible report.

He said, “The new techcomm under the guidance of Sathymoorthy has worked hard to look into each and every aspect of the process. There is a perceptible sense of optimism and an air of transparency in the working of MRUC under the new leadership.”

The team at Nielsen has also provided its fresh perspectives and have come forth with many practical solutions.

“We at DB Corp had three areas that we chose to focus on in our endeavour to play a constructive role in strengthening the IRS fieldwork security, increase in sample sizes and the length of the questionnaire. We are glad to note that a variety of measures and process changes have been introduced, covering all three areas of our concern,” added Suresh.

However, most of the repair work has largely been within the ambit of the continuing objectives of the IRS. Going forward it will be our objective to push for more radical changes to the basic construct of the survey in order to bring alive the medium of Print to a new generation of planners and marketing managers. The basic metrics offered by the IRS remain largely unchanged for more than two decades now. Given that the media landscape has undergone huge changes in the meantime, it is critical that IRS begins providing much more information about Print other than just measuring readership incidences.

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