Plans are underway to consider combining India’s two rival print readership surveys – the bi-annual Indian Readership Survey (IRS) and the annual National Readership Study (NRS) – in a bid to reduce costs.
In recent weeks, members of The Media Research Users Council (MRUC), which commissions Hansa Reasearch to conduct the IRS, have been involved in talks with members of the National Readership Studies Council (NRSC), which produces the NRS, to discuss a possible merger.
The NRS study, which was previously conducted by Nielsen, has not been published for three years because of concerns about anomalies in its data. Inside sources say that plans to resume the study have not gone ahead, due mainly to issues relating to funding.
Certain media buyers, publishers and advertisers are keen to fund the single readership survey, and according to Indian Newspaper Society (INS) President Hormusji N Cama, if it goes ahead, the merged study will be known by a new name and be owned equally by both the MRUC and NRSC.
However, Paresh Nath, Deputy President of the INS, says that not all parties are as keen to push for a merger. He believes that if it is not possible to revive the NRS, then the MRUC should continue with the IRS.
‘MRUC already has all components—advertisers, ad agencies, publishers and other media—in its various committees; now it will include a few more people from the other side as well... but that will be the extent of the merger,’ he told local press.