IRS 2018 runs behind schedule, likely to be out by March end

Kerala floods, Kumbh Mela, delay in funding, increased sample size and a more elaborate process believed to be some of the reasons behind the delay

e4m by Naziya Alvi Rahman
Updated: Jan 14, 2019 8:08 AM

The much awaited Indian Readership Survey 2018, which made it in January last year, has been running behind schedule and is not likely to be out before March 2019. 

As per sources, the field work is still on and is not expected to be over before February end. Sources are blaming the Kerala floods for the delay as the process had to be stopped down South for over a month. Also, in the North the process has been put on hold in several parts of Uttar Pradesh due to the Kumbh Mela and the field work there will only resume after its completion.

“Despite all the delays we are only running a little behind schedule and we are hopeful to have it out by end of March,” said a senior Media Research Users Council (MRUC) official.

However, when contacted for comments, MRUC Chairman Ashish Bhasin said the survey was on track and they were hoping to deliver it on time.  “We will know the exact date once the field work is over,” Bhasin told exchange4media.

Speculations around a possible delay in IRS 2018 were on for a long time. In June 2018, there were rumours about the delay due to funding issues, which was because of non-payment by some media houses. It was only around August-September 2018 that the MRUC was able to overcome the cash crunch enabling it to initiate field work.  

There were also some minor delays in setting up the technical committee. It was only in August 2018 that the technical committee was selected and Madison’s Vikram Sakhuja was appointed its chief. Another reason that could have possibly caused the delay was the council’s ambitious plan to increase the sample size from 3,30,000 to 3,60,000. 

As new Tech-Com chief, Sakhuja also wanted to focus on ensuring data validity, liability and integrity. “For publications with local or regional presence, we want to enhance their ability to read their publications at smaller geographical aggregates,” he had told exchange4media.

It was also believed that MRUC initially struggled with objections from publishers on the questionnaire, which too had delayed the process of the survey. 

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