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IRS 2017 is not merely for media consumption: NP Sathyamurthy

On the sidelines of the Indian Readership Survey 2017, released last week in Mumbai, Adgully caught up with NP Sathyamurthy, Chairman – RSCI Technical Committee and Executive Director, DDB Mudra Group, to know more about the methodology used in compiling the data, industry expectations & concerns, and dynamics of the report. 

Do you see a newer set of advertisers coming in?
Yes, a lot. Advertisers have no other data to decide what combination of media should be used for advertising in which market. IRS is the only database. We have report on about 95 cities. You would be able to use IRS data for all the important cities where advertising matters. It is the world’s largest survey. 

You have also tried to bring in parity with cinema versus digital at one-month level. How do you see it benefiting the industry at large?
It is going to be an apple-to-apple to comparison. Earlier if you said that I am near 20 per cent of the newspaper leadership, when compared with yesterday’s leadership of newspaper, it will be unfair to say this. 

You have not brought in the average issue readership factor this time?
It is there in the software, so whoever wants to use it, can use it. This is not only for media consumption. There are two thesis to release the readership data. Some can use it to see the macro trends for their own publications – how many people are reading in the one month. Out of them how many are reading seven days a week. Others are regular readers planning for their own product. As advertisers, they can use it for multi-media planning. The second part is trading, that is, what is the right price one should pay for advertising. 

You have said that there will be a continuous collection of data. What do you mean by that?
Every month there will be filed work. We won’t do it for five months and say it’s an annual report. For example, for a product like Chyawanprash, what will be the result if you don’t sample it in the winter? Next year the sample size will be more. The research will go on for ten months. 

How will you stop people from comparing the data with that of 2014?
It is incorrect to compare. The methodology is very different. However, some people will still do that, but we will tell them that it’s incorrect. From the subscribers to the agencies to the publishers – all have to comply with the code of conduct. 

The technology and methodology has changed a lot. Are there any efforts to train the people who are going to use it?
Yes, definitely. A marketing committee headed by Girish Agrawal from Dainik Bhaskar is driving the initiative. We are going to hold training programmes in all user bases and also conduct joint training for users in select locations. We want people to exploit the data. If at the end of day the planners don’t understand the difference between this data and the previous data, the purpose is defeated. We are going to do online training and physical training – all of this is part of the agenda, and it will be for everyone. We also plan to hold some training sessions in the MRUC office.

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