NRS 2005 takes firm stand on C&S numbers

MUMBAI: The second edition of NRS 2005 was released yesterday and though the much talked about discrepancies in the cable and satellite (C&S) home numbers by NRS and IRS were a topic of debate, NRS brushed aside criticism saying its methodology was more scientific.

"The aim of the NRS methodology is to give better representation to each pocket of the country," NRS counter-punched critics, saying it had conceived an all-district sampling strategy for NRS 2005.



NRS has estimated the number of TV owning households in India to be 108 million and the number of C&S connected households to be 61 million (or about 56 per cent of TV homes) as of March 2005.

IRS, on the other hand, conducted by MRUC, estimated the number of TV homes in June 2004 to be 83 million and the number of C&S homes to be 43 million (or about 52 per cent of TV homes).



IRS has also said that they expect to estimate between 90 to 94 million TV homes and between 46 to 50 million C&S homes (or between 51 to 53 per cent of TV homes) by the end of 2005.

For NRS 2005, the overall sample of 2,60,000 households was divided into three segments: urban random sample; rural random sample and nupscale boosters.

The random sample aims to mirror the profile of urban and rural segments of a state's population. The Nupscale booster aims to give a minimum representation to upscale consumers as they are of interest to marketers.



The random sample was distributed across each town class and each village class of every district. This sample was weighed according to the population of each population stratum of each district.

The estimates at district level were then added to arrive at socio-cultural regions (SCR) level and thence to state and all India. Nupscale boosters in the top 35 cities were weighted separately to the Nupscale universe in each city.

Advantage for high-growth categories: The debate on TV household estimation brings into focus the clear advantage of this methodology over that followed in the other readership survey, namely that market movements in any pocket of the country will get detected.

The TV industry is in a growth phase: Expansion of the number of TV homes is taking place in semi-urban and rural areas of India - in large urban centres and consumers are upgrading from black and white to colour TV sets; from entry-level sets to feature-rich ones.

Validation: The Census department had, between April and June 2000, collected data on household assets, including TV sets owned. The figure put out was 60 million homes. Nearly five years have elapsed since then to 1 March, 2005, which is the estimation date for NRS 2005.

Various sources are available giving data on the sales of TV sets: Notably the ORG-GFK retail audit (which covers more than 90 per cent of the country's organised TV dealer network) and the Consumer Electronics and TV Manufacturers' Association of India (CETMA).

Accounting for replacement demand, unorganised sector sales, imports and a second-hand market that re-conditions TV sets sold in exchange schemes, nearly 10 million sets have been sold in India every year for the last five years, totaling about 50 million sets since mid-2000. Close to 45 million homes would have been added in five years.

Therefore, the expected number of TV homes in India as of March 2005 would be well over 100 million by any reckoning, said NRS in a statement.

The Two Surveys: The NRS estimates 108 million homes in March '05. IRS does not cover all districts, but employs a "stratification" technique to select districts for coverage.

The latest IRS estimate (of 83 million TV homes) is for June 2004, but since it has indicated that even by end-2005 they expect to project between 90 and 93 million sets, the figures grossly underestimate the growth in TV homes in the past few years, NRS has contended.

The Lacuna: Why would incomplete coverage result in an underestimate? The districts for the other survey (done by IRS) have been selected after "stratifying" them according to the per-capita intensity of circulation of newspapers and magazines using an undisclosed procedure.

Since newspaper reading habits are assumed to change slowly, circulation patterns across districts are also expected to change slowly. The "stratification" will therefore deploy the sample cost-effectively for a readership study, but, NRS has pointed out, only if the assumption that readership habits change slowly holds true.

The Impact: In any product category where expansion is taking place in semi-urban and rural markets, incomplete district representation will miss out on new market movements.

In the case of TV sets, the impact of this expansion is on TV viewing and, hence, media habits in general can easily be imagined.

So, while incomplete district coverage may underestimate publications that are experiencing growth in readership in semi-urban and rural areas, it will also underestimate the impact of growing competition to the press media from TV channels.

The NRS 2005 strategy is the best available method of representing reality as it exists in India today because it provides for representation of every pocket of the country, the organization affirmed.

Also read:

MRUC disputes NRS 2005 TV homes figures

C&S penetration grows 53% to 61 million homes in 3 years: NRS 2005

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