Varghese Chandy, senior general manager, marketing operations, Malayala Manorama and Tomson J Thundathil, manager, market research have won the award for the Best Research Paper at the 14th Worldwide Readership Research Symposium held at Hotel Las Arenas, Valancia, Spain.
The symposium took place on October 10-14. The paper, titled Reading India Right, won among 54 shortlisted papers from across the world. Chandy and Thundathil's paper was the sole entry selected from Asia. Their research paper won the Best Paper award in the category of First Time Presentations. The award was given by Dawn Michell, president, WRRS.
The paper took into account the diversity of India and the problems encountered in readership estimation. The duo presented a new sampling and weighting methodology and its hypothesis was tested in a pilot study conducted in Kerala. The results of the pilot study were in line with market reality and this forms the basis of a new readership survey in India.
Talking about what prompted them to take up this subject for research, Chandy says, "The huge fluctuations in the readership surveys in India in the recent past prompted us to look at the possible problems in the survey. Therefore, we tested out a few hypotheses we had and found that the results were closer to reality."
Varghese explains that the main problem they found in India was the insufficient sample size per reporting unit. "We have a poor universe sample ratio, which is almost 100 per cent more than the world average. Our inconsistent literacy rates across states and regions also create problems," he adds. Therefore, they suggested increased sample size and a third weighting parameter - literacy. Varghese states that even advanced countries such as the US weigh it by education.
On how this research can help the Indian media at large, Varghese informs that "as the pilot study has proved the data to be stable, we have no doubt that this will help the Indian readership surveys".