Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: Can newspapers sermonise when they can’t run a measurement system in harmony?

13 Jul,2017

By Jaisurya Das


Do readership studies matter any longer? I seriously wonder.

Ladies and gentleman, Welcome back to yet another edition of your favourite counselling column! This week, I received two letters on the subject of readership studies (one of which I have responded to in this column) and that set me thinking on their efficacy and need today.

From what I hear from my friends in the advertising world, they hardly ever look at them any longer and most media buying decision are back to the days of gut and clear market leaders. A lot of this is thanks to the muck thrown around each time a new study is published with warring factions disputing the numbers.

I don’t blame the media planners and buyers for not bothering about them any longer; it’s become a mockery of research anyway. That apart, today’s clients are far more informed than in the past and most often have their media options pre-decided. It’s more buying than planning that happens in most markets of our country. Some markets like Pune don’t even have media planners from the true definition point of view.

And so, we rely on gut like we used to close to two decades ago when both professional network and bonding moved campaigns more than numbers. The only difference is that the young media sellers of today do not have the relationship skills that a lot of the older generation had. Or they are just plain disinterested and market visits are more centred around comfort zones.

Well, the proof of the pudding is in eating it and hence only revenues will tell down the line. One thing is apparent though, the market is always ‘down’ for the current crop of sellers.

I rest my case.


Straight to our reader questions from Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad:


Sir, I am a student of advertising and marketing and have been shocked to hear of newspapers warring each on the readership survey findings. And it’s these very newspapers who sermonise on probity in public life and how politicians and governments are inefficient and ineffective. What right do they have when they can’t even run a measurement system in harmony?

Good question and a very valid observation too! Thank you for writing into us.

I completely subscribe to your thoughts on this. It is indeed quite ludicrous to see media companies getting into these matters which could easily be ironed out by discussion and implementation of checks and balances.

This is typical of a scenario that emerges when brands are in competition. You often tend to get carried away and lost sight of the macro picture and waste your energies on petty street fights!

What is needed is a robust system that all members accept as neutral and fair and then go about implementing that sensibly. The whole point of an independent survey is this and if members are unable to decide what constitutes a fair system, there really is no point in wasting energy and resources on a large survey like this.

Grow up and get your onions right once for all!


I have been seeing many advertisements for mass media programmes in all parts of the country. And in some of these colleges, a cursory enquiry made revealed that they don’t even have good faculty out there. How are they even allowed to function? Why doesn’t the media damn them from taking hapless students for a ride?

I agree and it is important for media brands to highlight this lacunae that has been fuelled with hundreds of institutes mushrooming over the country. Most of them are not even accredited and hence do not follow any laid down procedure or norm.

I have personally seen some of these institutes who don’t even have basic infrastructure and work with ‘briefcase faculty’ who are ill equipped to impart any serious learning. Unfortunately, students and parents do not always do a reference check and get carried away by the advertising and end up paying huge fees for qualifications which mean nothing more than the paper they are printed on.

It is an important issue and I do hope media takes this up seriously and more so since they are eventual employers and need high quality talent.


My brother’s friend from college was telling us how they have major gender discrimination in film production companies. That boys get a preference because they can work late nights etc? Is this really true?

I personally don’t think this is true. I know of several young women employed in production companies and they have never mentioned any such discrimination.

If at all, it must be an exception rather than the norm. Yes, it does increase the responsibility of the company to ensure there is adequate security and transport arrangements to take care of the women employed but that is about it.  Women are very much there in film production and work round the clock depending on the need.

I don’t think this is an issue nowadays and while there may be a few occasions that the men are asked to do the late nights, there is certainly no discrimination that I have heard off.  And if there is something like this you notice, then move companies!


So all is fair and handsome after all! On that note of equality, I shall get on with the rest of my week and leave you to your weekend planning! Till we meet again then, Sayonara and God Bless.


Jaisurya Das, maverick and media evangelist eats, sleeps and makes love to brands. His consulting interventions are aimed at making brands powerful and sustainable. He is also the Contributing Editor of MxM India and Co-Founder of For more on his work visit views expressed in this column are his own.


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