Exclusive to MxMIndia: IRS2017 Top 5 Takeaways by Shripad Kulkarni

19 Jan,2018

By Shripad Kulkarni

 

The IRS Toplines were released yesterday. While detailed reports and software will throw better light, this is a quick decode:

TAKE A BOW, RSCI, MRUC & NIELSEN!

The people behind IRS 2018 must be commended for putting in herculean efforts to get IRS back on track after the last round fiasco.  Conducting the world’s largest such survey has its own challenges. Add to it a back-to-the-wall situation due to various anomalies of the last round, some of it caused by publishers themselves trying to beat the survey, litigations by some others and the challenge multiplies manifold. Various readership studies over the years had evolved and perfected a long drawn validation exercise, which the Techcom got back this time around with industry planners. This, in my view should have given RSCI an MRUC a huge confidence to release the findings. Many changes in methodology, cross-checks, use of technology would have no doubt helped. As always, some publishers gain, others lose. Some media too gain, some lose. Error margin is a reality all need to accept

 

A NEW PECKING ORDER OF DAILIES

Based on monthly readership, all Top 10 dailies are language newspapers. Jagran is #1, followed by Hindustan and Amar Ujala while Bhaskar is at #4 and Thanthi at #5! Hindi, Gujarati Kannada and Marathi newspapers grew 31 to 45%, Oriya by a big 83%. TOI continues to be the leader in English while Thanthi leads among non-Hindi regionals.

 

INDUSTRY NEEDS A FRESH SOCIO-ECONOMIC CLASSIFICATION

Any dramatic rise in penetration of some categories would disrupt the equilibrium of NCCS. A durable ownership based NCCS definition is challenged at the bottom end by a big growth in gas stove, mobile phone ownership and availability of electricity. As a result, suddenly many people have jumped to higher NCCS. So, while 65% of homes don’t have a 2-wheeler, 53% don’t own agri land, NCCS DE accounts for only 40% homes. At the top end of NCCS, despite a growth in AC and car-owning homes, NCCS A1 and A2, still remains stagnant at 2% and 4% resp.  The idea of one unified NCCS across Urban and Rural areas might be bringing in an averaging effect, so may need to be revisited. The challenge in relating this to the much smaller sample size of the TV viewership system is yet another dimension to the NCCS saga.

 

READING INTENSITY IS AN ISSUE

Circulation of newspapers is steadily rising @ of about 5% annually.  Readership (over a month) however, has grown @ 11% pa – 37% growth over last IRS. Rural markets readership has grown at a dramatic 15% annually, leading to a 50% growth over 2014. Yet, average issue readership (read yesterday) has remained stagnant. Newspaper variants covered for the first time too show low figures. This suggests a problem with the intensity of reading – number of issues/week and the time spent.

 

MAGAZINES, FM READERSHIP CORRECTED BUT INTERNET STILL UNDERESTIMATED

As per new IRS methodology for magazines, readership doubles (vis a vis last Round) to a respectable 8 crore base(as per periodicity). Radio too doubles reach to 19%

 

The mobile penetration is at a whopping 90% with 9 out of 10 homes having a house member owning a mobile. IRS 2018, puts monthly internet reach at 19 %. A 30 Crore smart phone base, it would mean every other smart phone owner has 2 smart phones! Online newspapers have an abysmal 4% reach as per IRS. May be, we need a separate Internet baseline

 

All in all a good comeback on the back of which more needs to be done!

 

Shripad Kulkarni is a media agency veteran

 

 

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