The RSCI (Readership Studies Council of India), a joint body formed by the MRUC (Media Research Users Council) and the NRSC (National Readership Studies Council) tasked to bring out the new avatar of the IRS (Indian Readership Survey), is in the process of finalising its research partner for the IRS 2013-15.
RSCI is working with a deadline for the new avatar of the IRS to be in field, with a pilot, by October 2012. A full field is planned for January 2013, with first results to be available by mid-2013. The last report of the IRS, with 2012 fieldwork, will be released in the first quarter of 2013. The intention is to make this the last IRS in its current form.
There were six agencies pitching for the IRS. While RSCI has identified the agency it would like to award the project to, the discussion is still in the final stages.
Elaborating further on the attributes and the requisites that a research agency had to have to be assigned this project, Lynn de Souza, Chairperson, RSCI said, “The agencies were evaluated on the basis of their response to the RFP (request for proposal) by the Technical Committee, looking at three factors – comprehensiveness, capability and experience to meet the research requirements, and the extent to which they went beyond the brief.”
The RSCI also subsequently held chemistry meetings that were conducted by the Selection Committee, who sat through presentations in which agencies fielded their senior staff and global leadership.
The new avatar of the IRS is one of the most watched out projects for the Indian print industry, as it would bring the sharp edge of measurement for different kinds of print media vehicles thereby assisting the industry to grow. The RSCI technical committee will be working very closely with the research agency, after it is appointed to ensure that the gold standard product that the RSCI has set out to achieve by this exercise.
RSCI’s Technical Committee head, Paritosh Joshi explained that the very architecture of the study will undergo a change in the new IRS. He said, “The earlier format was on lines of an omnibus, where every aspect of the survey was caught in a single sweep. The new architecture changes that. It will include a core study and then multiple satellite studies depending on the requirement of the IRS.”
The core study will be the print readership, an equivalent of average issue readership. The satellite studies will be able to drill deeper and allow the industry access richer data. This architecture uses the well established processes of data fusion and ascription, which on a systematic basis, allows the research model to adapt to requirements. Joshi observed, “The current IRS has got bloated. The questionnaire duration is running into 90 minutes and more. And any researcher will tell you that a research interview should be restricted to 30-40 minutes to get the best from a respondent. In a sense, the current IRS is facing a non-sampling error.”
The RSCI had the challenge of addressing this error and reducing questionnaire duration. At the same time, it had to ensure that the robustness of the survey was maintained. A pilot study was hence critical to the introduction of the new model.
The agency will need a minimum of 90 days to deliver the pilot after it begins work on the project. The RSCI is hence working towards announcing its research partner in the early part of August 2012.
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