MRUC brings about innovations in sampling for IRS 2003-2004

MUMBAI: The results of the first round of the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2003-2004 will be unveiled later this month.

The Media Research Users Council (MRUC) held a review meeting today to see where the IRS stood vis-?-vis market requirements and what improvements could be made going forward.


MRUC announced that for the first round of IRS 2003-2004 the coverage had been expanded from 40 to 48 cities. The second round whose results will be released in

September would see 62 cities being covered including for the first time Jammu. For 2005 MRUC is hoping to add another 51 cities.

The sample base is 280,000. Two thirds of this is in urban centres. The organisation also realised that it needed to expand the geographic spread and move away from the concept of socio cultural regions (SCRs). For this purpose it has come out with the concept of IRS

Sampling Districts (IDSs). Two to five contiguous districts have been clubbed to form an ISD. Fifty-eight SCRs have been divided into 159 ISDs. This will benefit publishers who come out with an increasing number of local editions of papers.

For example Maharashtra's Vidarbha region will now have five districts. The aim is to spread awareness and research into the homogeneous consumption of media.

For sub metro reporting, Mumbai and Delhi have been split into four primary zones. The other four Metros have two zones. MRUC is examining the feasibility of further divisions. As the chairperson of MRUC's technical committee Roda Mehta pointed out, the Mumbai suburb of Andheri alone is equal to three Agras.

Mumbai is equal to 15-17 Agras. The committee found that not all areas of the city are identical. For instance in the refrigerator segment there is a big difference between downtown Mumbai and the outskirts of the city.

For each sub metro area the minimum sample size is 800 to maintain data accuracy. This will help local advertisers and marketers prioritise the region more finely and see where there is scope for further growth in the business.

The SEC A booster for IRS 2003 - 2004 is 10,000. To capture this segment better the MRUC went the telephonic route. "The first round of IRS 2003-2004 will present more accurate estimates of how the upper crust segment consumes niche media," Mehta added.

The minimum sample size for each city surveyed is 800 on a yearly basis. In the rural areas the selected Talukas are visited for both the rounds. Mudra's Amit Ray, who is the vice chairman of IRS, said that 30 per cent of the interviews conducted are back checked by field managers for logical inconsistencies. The interviewers are trained for data interpretation as well nuances in the languages. In addition 450 complete back checks are done in 18 markets by 50 representatives of the media planning and advertising


For the rural areas MRUC targeted the shopkeepers in particular for IRS 200-2004. This is because they influence purchase decisions. Shopkeepers were queried about their media habits, the goods stocked as well as where the stock came from. Rural households were asked about what kind of goods were consumed and the reasons for this. The purchase habits of 29 FMCG goods have been determined. Information was gathered from 5,841 shops in 2,894 villages.

As for the future the MRUC is looking at how it can further declassify the SEC. It will come out with radio analysis in May. This is being done with AC Nielsen and is called the Indian Listenership Track. As of now IRS targets the 12+ age group. However kids

are becoming increasingly important in purchase decisions. Therefore the MRUC is determining how it can target those below this age group. It could be 8-14 or 6-12.

MRUC needs to make several decisions, like in how many cities to do the survey. Should it be for all SECs or just A, B, C? The method would be a simple child questionnaire supported by the mother. It would look at the child's media habits as well as product consumption.

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