Das ka Dum with Dr Bhaskar Das: Surprised with the recent IRS data? A word of advice to print sales folk on sellling despite low numbers?

07 Jan,2020

The findings of the latest Indian Readership Survey didn’t paint a very healthy picture of the print players. So we asked this question to the veteran print honcho. He may not be connected with print currently, but if his curation of the INMA South Asia conference recently is any indication, there are few people in the business who understand the dynamics of print better than him. Without further ado, Das ka Dum by Dr Bhaskar Das


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Q. The recent Indian Readership Survey numbers report a fall in readership of a large number of publications. Are you surprised? A word of advice to print sales folk on how they can continue to sell despite the numbers being low?


A. I am not surprised as historical trend follows the same graph. Also societal metamorphosis, led by accelerated technological change and globalisation and its consequent impact on consumer behaviour, have contributed to the shifting audience behaviour. This gets reflected in measurement metrices. In the ultimate analysis, IRS is an indicative direction and not a deterministic or an exhaustive label on the efficacy of a publication. Once the various data points of all access points for a particular brand are measured and the various data points are capable of taking to each other, the perceived deceleration of print news brands would most probably evaporate because an omnichannel audience measurement can decimate a siloed view of consumption.

Coming to the task of the sales team, dwindling of audience base could be a challenge for monetisation. Hence a different approach like evidence based-selling, storytelling as route to behavioural shift , empathising with the business challenges of the associates, thinking complementary as a solution provider et al are the routes that may be adopted.

Besides, media owners can take initiative with IRS for adding new dimensions in the methodology including reading and noting study for each title so that the quality and quantity of audience immersion in the content can be measured. In an algorithm-based media planning and buying ecosystem, the print sales team needs to get encultured into the new lexicon of smart prospecting and put their skin in the game, as Nicholas Taleb recommends.



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