The 'Indian Express' group
of newspapers has filed a legal suit with the Bombay High Court against the National Readership Studies Council (NRSC) with regard to its dissatisfaction with the readership figures quoted for its Marathi daily, 'Loksatta', in the NRS 2005 Report.
Confirming this development to agencyfaqs!, Vaidehi Thakar, director, legal, Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Limited, says, "We have been compelled to file a suit against the National Readership Studies Council in respect of certain incorrect and defamatory portions in their NRS 2005 Report."
The publication has requested for an injunction, restraining any further publicising of the readership figures of 'Loksatta' as quoted in NRS 2005. NRSC will now have to respond within a month.
Thakar adds, "Our main concerns relate to the readership figures of 'Loksatta' in the NRS 2005 Report, which shows an incredible drop in the readership of the Marathi daily. As per the report, the readership of 'Loksatta' has dropped by 31.5 per cent over the earlier NRS 2003 Report.
"The study also indicates a drop in the readership of 'Loksatta' in Pune and Nagpur by 21 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively. Similarly, the study shows a decline in readership by 21 per cent and 74 per cent, respectively, for the Aurangabad and Bhiwandi editions."
Thakar clarifies, "When these figures were released in early July 2005, we contacted NRS immediately to rectify the report or withdraw the figures, or permit us to make a presentation in front of the NRS technical committee. However, the NRSC failed to do so. Nor did we receive any meaningful response."
She continues: "There has been absolutely no drop in the circulation of 'Loksatta' between 2003 and 2005. Additionally, we have undertaken several brand promotion activities relating to festivals, exhibitions, reader-oriented programmes, sports, readership-oriented programmes, and career, investment and social programmes."
The publication has even introduced new supplements and editions, she says. Thakar further claims, "There is no significant change in the composition of our editorial team. In the light of this, it defies reason and logic that with the same circulation, the same editor and the same editorial team, there should be a sudden and mammoth attrition in readership."
She adds, "The NRS 2005 Report shows a sharp spike in the rural readership for 'Loksatta'. However, there has been no spurt or indeed no increase in the copies circulated in the rural areas."
Incidentally, 'Business Standard' had also shown its dissatisfaction with the NRS readership figures, after which NRSC agreed to withdraw that paper's readership figures from NRS 2005.
When contacted, Sam Balsara, chairman, technical committee, NRSC, says, "We haven't received any notice as yet, but we are quite surprised that such a large publication group has taken this step. We at NRSC have already taken an undertaking from the subscribers that they cannot take NRSC to court. However, we will respond to this issue at the right time and in the right forum."
© 2005 agencyfaqs!