During the second day of Indian Magazine Congress (IMC) 2009, Ashish Bagga, chief executive officer, India Today Group, who is also a member of the governing council, National Readership Studies Council (NRSC); and Lynn de Souza, chief executive officer and chairperson, Lintas, who also serves on the board of governors of the Media Research User's Council (MRUC), discussed about the merger of the two bodies - MRUC and NRSC.
The joint body will be called Readership Survey Council of India (RSCI) and will be responsible for conducting a unified readership survey.
The joint survey, which is yet to be named, is expected to roll out late next year. According to Bagga, it will conceive, design and manage all readership related research surveys and at the same time, address the best available talent.
Talking about the benefits of the co-ownership of the survey, he emphasised that it lead to more accountability and responsibility. Since it will be a sole body by the print industry to address the readership surveys, it will remove any confusion that might have been there earlier, bringing out a sustainable and credible survey.
RSCI will have a common currency for readership measurement and "will have gold standard duly endorsed and supported by all constituents," informed Bagga. He further added that he has been associated with the readership survey way back since 1985 and during all this time, there have been talks going on of the merger, and finally it has been implemented. "It will be something path-breaking and revolutionary," he said.
De Souza said that currently, many magazines with good reach have inadequate quality measures, whereas for the niche magazines - though they have adequate advertisements, they lack from inadequate sampling.
The new survey will look at the quality of reading, which will be measured quantitatively on the basis on three parameters - engagement and stickiness, accurate readership and badge value of being seen in the magazine. De Souza informed that the new body is contemplating looking at additional data capture (diary system) and boosted samples for the smaller publications.
"We have paid a lot of attention to meet the needs of the publication. Diary method is an option which is practised in many countries. We are also thinking about it to capture the habits of the reader," she said.
She added that in the diary method, the research team meets with a household, takes some basic information and leaves a diary behind, which is filled by a member of the family over a period of one week. After that, the researchers take back the diary.
Talking about how robust and different the new survey will be from the earlier ones, Bagga said, "We will try and minimise relative errors which were there earlier. The methods followed till now will be entirely relooked at and will be distinctly different from the earlier ones."