Rejoice! IRS2017 is out!

19 Jan,2018

 

By A Correspondent

 

There has been much sense of anticipation about IRS2017 since a few months when the finishing touches and validations were being conducted. And when the toplines were unveiled finally in the presence of around 250+ media professionals and over 10,000 others over a live webcast facilitated by MxMIndia and 24FramesDigital, there was a deep sense of relief.

 

There were some who were dismay as they didn’t do very well in the basic data that was revealed, there were some others who were wondering why the MRUC and RSCI weren’t rolling out the bubbly.

 

So first let’s read the official press release that we were given post the unveiling:

The Readership Studies Council of India (RSCI) and Media Research Users Council (MRUC) are pleased to announce that the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2017 Report has now been released.

 

For the record, the IRS 2017 Report covered a full year sample of 320,000 households – the highest ever in the history of any readership study in the world. The large sample size was backed by a meticulously designed methodology, which saw the use of 100% Dual Screen CAPI followed by a tighter scrutiny process via continuous backchecks, accompaniments, use of audio recordings, and third-party field audits. These enhanced levels of Quality Control deployed by the IRS TechCom has ensured veracity of data capture for all quarters. The robustness of capture of media consumption across all media has been significantly enhanced due to the increased sample size and better representation across all pop strata.

 

All key stakeholders had been actively engaged by RSCI and MRUC all through the fieldwork period to keep them updated and aligned on the progress.

 

Some exciting new features have been included in this round of the IRS.

 

Reach analysis across all media types has now been brought to a common platform with the introduction of 1-month penetration numbers for all media types. This will now enable an apples to apples comparison across media types.

 

The IRS 2017 Report also offers new readership metrics. Apart from the standard and well-established Average Issue Readership metric, one can now look at data from the perspective of Total Readership (TR), and Readership of publications by time frames of Last 7 days and Last 3 days.  These new metrics have been introduced to provide a true representation of the changing consumption habits among Newspaper readers.

 

Another interesting development has been the capture and reporting of readership for the Main issue of Newspapers versus their Variants. Each of them are now reported separately in IRS 2017.

 

Commenting on the release of IRS 2017 Report, Ashish Bhasin, Chairman, MRUC and Chairman and CEO – South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Networks, said: “According to the findings of the Report, 39% of Indians (12+ years) read newspapers, and 20% of all newspaper readers in 50 Lakh plus population towns read newspapers online. These numbers most definitely tell us that there is a bright future waiting for the Print industry. I’m also hoping that we will now begin to see advertisers and media agencies taking Print more seriously. Increased readership numbers for newspapers and magazines will pave the way for publishers to increase their revenues, which would in turn help increase the size of Print as a medium.”

 

Bhasin further said: “The support we have received from across constituencies for bringing out this Report was phenomenal and it was very pleasing to see the key stakeholders contributing in many ways to improve the study that has been in existence since more than two decades.”

 

Noted Shashi Sinha, RSCI Managing Committee Chairman, and CEO, IPG Mediabrands: “I’m delighted to share that the findings of the IRS 2017 Report mirrors the market reality in terms of media reach and the performance of individual media channels be it newspapers, magazines and broadcasters.  The methodology deployed to capture data quarter-on-quarter was the very best for a study of this scale and kind, and the sheer focus on Quality Control makes this Report a reliable one and a real stand out.”

 

Said NP Sathyamurthy, Chairman – RSCI Technical Committee and Executive Director, DDB Mudra Group: “The IRS 2017 Report is the outcome of great minds from different streams working together toward a common and shared goal to come out with a research that sets the highest standards globally. Absence of readership data for four years meant that we had to work that much harder and smarter to bring the study back in action and in line with the market truths and expectations.”

 

Sathyamurthy further noted: “From 2016, when we began the fieldwork, up till last month when we completed the validations for all four quarters, the journey wasn’t easy, and had its own special twists and turns. Furthermore, we have strengthened the Report with additions such as TR, readership numbers for 7 days and 3 days and the separate reporting of newspaper variants. IRS 2017 marks a new innings for this trusted Industry study.”

 

There were murmurs against the return of Total Readership (TR) as a currency. At least two publishers and a former member of the thinktank rubbished the decision of using TR and alleged that it has been done at the behest of some powerful newspapers who want to project a healthy picture for the industry. When a senior functionary associated with IRS2017, he/she retorted that it was the Board’s decision to use TR, and not the whim of an individual.

 

Another senior media agency professional told MxMIndia, that there is a crying need for an apples-to-apples comparison being thrown by audience measurement studies.The professional told us about how in the case of television audience measurement too, the metric deployed in public is impressions. Similarly, he/she told us that there is merit in a metric that will help planners make more informed decisions will help the agency fraternity considerably. Meanwhile, an advertiser who MxMIndia spoke with, underscored the need for a realisation that there is need for a good, solid currency for all media. “It’s time media owners realise that we will only put money, when we can be sure of performance… We are not in the business of charity.”

 

Indeed.

 

Meanwhile, the data is set to roll from the second half of today. However, it will be downloadable only if users agree to a Code of Conduct/Usage. What this Code contains, the heads of RSCI and MRUC didn’t tell us at the launch on Wednesday, but there are indicators that the Code could make it difficult for publishers to fool around much with the way they slice and showcase data.

 

IRS 2017 Launch toplines

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