MUMBAI: Early this week, when Indian Readership Survey (IRS), which was published after a year, the Indian print media waited with bated breath to see how has it done – good, bad or ugly?
Since the survey conducted by Media Research Users Council (MRUC) and its new vendor Nielsen has been made public, things have turned ugly.
A lot of publishers are not happy with the data and the new methodology used this time. Many of them have openly voiced their dismay with it. For instance, the Hindu carried a piece from its editor-in-chief saying, “IRS, in relation to The Hindu, is riddled with inconsistencies and with findings that defy common sense and reach the level of absurdity that its credibility has been totally damaged.”
Across the country, leading newspapers have said the new methodology used in the IRS has a lot of glitches and contradicts the figures of the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), which shows the number of copies printed.
The issue has taken a serious turn. A group of 18 leading newspaper groups, including the Times of India, Jagran, Bhaskar, Outlook, Lokmat and The Hindu, on Jan 30 issued a joint statement rubbishing the findings of the 2013 IRS survey.
The group of publishers has called upon MRUC to immediately withdraw the latest IRS results and put a stop to all future editions of the survey based on the new methodology.
The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) will meet with the MRUC on Monday (3 January) to discuss the issues in the IRS survey.
The chairman of MRUC, Ravi Rao, was unavailable for comment.
Paritosh Joshi, the Chairman of IRS’ Technical Committee, didn’t hide his disappointment and said if data is recalled or any other similar step is taken, it will be “shattering” for him. “All I want to say is that technology-wise we have used the best methodology. We also checked upon it routinely. What is surprising is that publishers were aware of the process used and it wasn’t a bolt from the blue. It was all out in the open and we delivered best to our capabilities.”
The fate of the survey would be decided on Monday, till then we can only wait to see what happens next.