IRS 2017 results elicit epic ad wars among media outlets

Basking in the positive reflection of the IRS 2017 reports, the recent flurry of ads with competitive claims and brands taking pot-shots at each other, are keeping the spirit of marketing warfare alive

by Misbaah Mansuri
Published - Jan 29, 2018 8:55 AM Updated: Jan 29, 2018 8:55 AM

Indian Readership Survey 2017, one of the world's largest surveys, was released on January 18 after a four-year gap. The survey has sparked a number of reactions and discussions among the various players in the industry. One of its highlights has been that it has brought the focus back on print media and the numbers indicate 9 per cent growth in total newspaper readership in last four years.

The survey results have not just left some players in the media elated but also ushered a brand battle of sorts, with them rolling out ads based on the IRS survey results and claiming the number one spot. Basking in the positive reflection of the reports, the recent flurry of ads with competitive claims and brands taking pot-shots at each other, are keeping the spirit of marketing warfare alive.

Competing for supremacy, it was interesting to note that most of these ads used comparative advertising strategies. An ad by The Hindu claims that it continues to lead in Chennai and Tamil Nadu. With a comparison of its performance in South India as opposed to TOI, the ad states that with 30 per cent more readership than TOI (38.5 lakhs,) it is number one in South India.

The ad by Hindustan Times read that the publication has emerged as the most read newspaper in Delhi and Mumbai, India's top two markets, with a combined readership of 24.5 lakh in two cities as compared to The Times of India's 23.5 lakh. The ad by HT Media also claimed that according to the recent IRS survey, Hindustan Times is the most-read paper in Punjab with a readership of 2.68 lakh which is higher than The Tribune's 2.36 lakh and The Times of India's 0.8 lakh.

Giving a fitting reply to the competitors, TOI's ad states that the daily is Numero Uno in markets like Mumbai and Delhi NCR which matters the most in the readership metric. The ad also takes at pot-shots at Hindustan Times saying that the latter is claiming to be number one by leaving out parts of Greater Mumbai (Thane, Virar and Vasai) and soon, an ad by HT rubbishing TOI's claims also surfaced.

Apart from these, 9X Jalwa which operates the Hindi music channel 9XM also basked in their impression growth with an ad. The ad with the lead statement, 'Aaj Main Upar, Aasmaan Neeche,' had a graph that compares itself with competitors like Bindass, B4U Music and Sony Mix, among others. The ad essays that the media outlet has witnessed a growth by 85 per cent in weekly impressions.

Hindi daily Hindustan, published by HT Media Ltd subsidiary Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd. also rolled out an ad stating that it has emerged as the top paper in Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand and the second most read paper in Uttar Pradesh. "5 crore, 24 lakh people wake up to read the newspaper. No. 2 newspaper of India once again," the ad reads. Another one compares its readership in Uttar Pradesh to Amar Ujala which is at 95 lakhs as compared to Hindustan which is at 99 lakhs stating that more people wake up to Hindustan than Amar Ujala and thanking the masses.

Looks like the Print industry is leaving no stone unturned to make surveys fun again.

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