IRSwala Aaya, IRSwala Aaya, IRSwala Aaya Re

28 Aug,2019

 

By Sanjeev Kotnala

 

The latest round of IRS report is out. The reported readership figures have given soulless Print Rudalies a chance to cry in mourning or smartly find ways to celebrate minor victories.

The comparative game has begun. Everyone is flogging the tired horse. The fight to sliced the data continues. Everyone is wishing for that somewhat relevant claim which can help them fight the festive season battle. And there will be some lazy advertising for these claims. The biggest game in print is on.

It reminds me of the Kabuliwala poem that one has read and sung many times. A bit of a twist and a tweak somewhere and the bhands in newspaper title get to sing a new IRS song.

IRSwala, IRSwala, IRSwala,
English Newspaper kyun kumhlaya tera mukhda pyara
Hindi Paper kyun kumhlaya tera mukhda pyara
Kya khoyi hai Readership teri ya kisi ne circulation me mara,
Roonth gaya kya tera reader, toot gaya kya hawker,
Roonth gaya kyat tera reader, toot gaya kya hawker,
Ya phir tujhse bichhad gaya tera koyi advertiser,
IRSwala ha ha, kya wo quarterly report wala,
Abhi mila dey tumko use, dekho khel nirala,
Chalo readership  ke paar jaha engagement ki hai war,
Kabhi Number 1 boley koi innovative kahani,
Chalo readership  ke paar jaha loyalty ki hai war,
Kabhi Number 1 boley koi innovative kahani,
Jaane sabka wo haal, usse sabka hi khayal,
Badi sachchi hai, Readership ki badalti wo syani,

Everyone wants just that slice of data to help claim a share of advertiser wallet. No one is bothered about its relevance. There is no question about how the numbers match? What do the numbers mean? Will they engage the uninterested advertisers and immune media buyers?

No one in the print media is willing to change. Something inside has broken. The sales team soul is not into the business. Everyone is looking at the brightness towards the end of rainbow called digital. Is it time to give up? I am not sure.

There is a strong inertia to change. No one wants to invest in understanding the root cause of the audience behaviour. Everyone has theories which have been strengthened by the multiple nods of heads inside boardroom presentations. Everything is directed towards boosting numbers. It’s different that IRS is a huge (scientific) extrapolation of a robust but limited data. Here is where the print industry has gone wrong. It cannot be the start and end of everything good or bad.

They have explanations. They have scapegoats. The undeniable truth keeps circulating in the corridors of print powerhouses. The enhanced availability, accessibility and affordability of data. The decreasing concentration of audiences. The fragmentation or multicity of interest.

In all of this the voice that calls spade a spade is ost. It is print’s inability to continue giving a differentiated, relevant and not necessarily impactful content. Play on its strength of Trust and Faith, which itself is under threat. However, there is high inertia in thinking and ideation. No one wants to move and take a call proactively. Everyone wants safety first. The choice of failing and falling is not acceptable to print stalwarts, and that is the reason they are failing their audience.

Nothing will change. IRS report will keep coming out. The changes will stop surprising the inert advertisers, media planners/buyers and the print saviours. We will find the IRSWALA and sing the last part of the song.

Tara rum, tara rum,
Readers se punchhenge hum, kyu roota hai who
Tara rum, tara rum,
Advertiser se punchhenge hum, Kyu badti TV digital se uski doosti.
Pal pal chhin chhin kum hota jaye,
Social linkage tode jaye

Pal pal chhin chhin involvement kum hota  jaye,
change ke pankh lagaye,
TV jhoome Digital ghoome, har dam chakkar chalta jaye,
TV jhoome Digital ghoome, har dam chakkar chalta jaye,
Pal pal chhin chhin reader segment jaye,
samay hawa ke pankh lagaye,

IRSwala aaya, IRSwala aaya, IRSwala aaya.

 

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