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All new IRS 2013 data holds surprises and shocks

MUMBAI: The wait is over, finally. After a gap of a year, the new Indian Readership Survey (IRS) for the year 2013 is out. And while the leaders of the different categories have remained unchanged, the pecking orders of publications have seen some major overhaul. This can have far-reaching consequences, hurting advertising of some dailies.

However, both Media Research Users Council (MRUC) and Nielsen, which has done the survey, have maintained that the data is not comparable to the previous editions as the methodology has changed. So this rules out a strict and direct comparison. But still the impact can be felt, some media analysts TelevisionPost.com spoke to said.

The topline findings were released here on Tuesday by Nielsen MD of media, India region, Prashant Singh. Also present were MRUC chairman and Mindshare leader South Asia Ravi Rao and IRS technical committee chairman Paritosh Joshi.

Hindi newspaper space

As per the latest IRS data, the average issue readership (AIR) of six out of 10 Hindi dailies has declined (if we are to compare). While the overall readership of the top 10 Hindi dailies has improved marginally, Hindustan, Rajasthan Patrika, Patrika and Hari Bhoomi were the only publications that gained readership. Surprisingly, Nai Dunia was pushed out of top 10.

IRS2013_hindi

In a major power equation shift, DB Corp’s flagship daily Dainik Bhaskar has slipped to third position, losing ground to Hindustan. Dainik Bhaskar saw a 10.8 per cent dip in AIR (average issue readership), if one were to compare the tally with the previous count.

Hindustan Media Ventures’ Hindustan jumped 16.3 per cent, adding 1.99 million readers.

Jagran Prakashan’s Dainik Jagran maintains its top position but has seen a 5.2 per cent loss in IRS 2013. Patrika and Hari Bhoomi saw growth of 124 per cent and 107 per cent respectively.

Amar Ujala and Punjab Kesari were the top losers with a fall of 16.2 per cent and 25.4 per cent respectively.

We know that there is a change in methodology but have still stated the readership comparison figures with the previous round of findings just to connect with history and give a rough perspective.

English dailies

Compared to IRS 2012 Q4, the IRS 2013 has seen an overall fall in readership of English dailies by almost 11.1 per cent.

IRS2013_eng

Three players from the Times Group remained in the top 10 English dailies. While the Times of India has seen a drop of 4.8 per cent in the AIR, it held on to its leadership position. Mumbai Mirror has shown impressive growth of 32.4 per cent and jumped from seventh position in IRS 2012 Q4 to fourth position in IRS 2013. Economic Times, though sustaining a 1.8 per cent drop, has still managed to jump to sixth position from previous edition’s eighth.

HT Media’s Hindustan Times has been the second biggest gainer with a 13.5 per cent jump in its AIR. HT has remained at its second position, followed by The Hindu, which has seen 32 per cent drop.

Mid Day and Deccan Herald have gained readership to get into the top 10, pushing DNA and The New India Express out of the elite league.

While Deccan Chronicle has lost the most with almost a 67 per cent fall in AIR, DNA has been quite a shocker.

DNA, which had an AIR of 972,000 and enjoyed sixth position in the previous edition, has gone out of the top 10 list. As the detailed data has not been published, the exact AIR is yet to be known. However, it will be below 337,000 of Deccan Chronicle.

Among other findings, the total media consumption stood at 656.20 million, print media at 281.71 million, television at 602.62 million, radio at 83.69 million, the internet at 50.67 million, and cinema at 76.40 million.

Till 2012, the quarterly IRS reports were prepared by Hansa Research. However, MRUC had last year awarded the IRS contract to Nielsen, and they worked together towards making IRS more robust and accurate.

IRS 2013 covered a sample of more than 235,000 households across India. The sample was spread across urban India (~ 160,000 households) and rural India (~ 75,000 households). The base was 954,785,000 (12+ years).

The sample size can be broken into the following territories—all India, individual states, socio-cultural regions (SCRs), 92 independent and 99 clustered districts.

The territories covered also included the North Eastern states, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli for the first time.

Among the many changes in the survey methodology was the use of dual-screen computer-assisted personal interviewing (DS-CAPI). The DS-CAPI method eliminates the need for printed masthead booklets and instead uses a second device (dual screen) to display mastheads and other stimulus to the respondent. This tool was employed to reduce non-sampling errors.

It also helped to reduce the survey time from 90 minutes to 30 minutes per interview, increasing the efficiency of both the interviewer and the interviewee.

Besides, the IRS has used the 2011 census to create new population projection estimates, to correctly reflect changes in population from the previous census (2001). This, experts say, has helped understand two decadal cycles.

For IRS 2013, in case of print, only AIR was considered. It used a two-question approach based on periodicity. Respondents were asked questions on the familiarity as well as frequency of usage to get accurate data. The question—if a reader has ever consumed a particular media vehicle—was removed.

In the new methodology, the time period under consideration is one month for print, television and radio consumption, six months for cinema and a year for the internet.

Moreover, marking a significant change, the reporting is based on geographies and not on editions. This is to ensure that all publications are reported in similar geographies and hence are comparable.