MRUC ready to monitor ratings systems, seeks meeting with IBF

The Media Research Users Council (MRUC), in its response to the controversy surrounding the leakage in television panel lists in Mumbai on Monday and subsequently in Chennai yesterday, today offered to take up the role of a monitoring body and ensure that the research is credible and economical.

The resolution came after a rather heated meeting held immediately after the release of the IRS 2001 Platinum Report (a study of the media and product consumption habits of India's top 3.7 per cent sampling six metropolitan cities), has committed to offering suggestions on how to rectify the systemic collapse.

Among those who actively participated in the discussions were advertising and media doyen Roda Mehta, Rathnakar Rai, MD, Primetime-IP Media Services Ltd, Ashish Bhasin, president, Initiative Media and Andrey Purushottam, MD, Starcom.

There were some key key points that came through in the discussions:

1) Need for accurate data;

2)People meters are the best option;

3)There were definite doubts in the minds of users / industry;

4) There were concerns expressed as to the way the samples were organised - both in size terms and the bundling of panels in very close proximity.

Bhasin suggested that till a proper response was given by the research agencies (TAM and INTAM), the industry should suppress the data given by the two organisations. He also demanded the total revamp of all the panels, not just in Mumbai, but all over the country.

Purushottam urged that the merger process of the two agencies be accelerated while at the same time instituting clear controls on the functioning of the new entity with regards to data collation.

Mehta lamented the lack of investment being put into quality research by the industry saying: "A healthy industry needs good healthy research."

She saw MRUC's role (provided adequate funds were made available by the industry) as an overseer, designing the research methodologies and monitoring the fieldwork.

This whole exercise will be futile if funding was not made available, Mehta said.

It was also suggested that the MRUC and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation have a meeting to thrash out key issues required to be addressed so as to get things in order again. 

A step that MRUC has agreed to take.

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