Based on the recommendation of the Readership Studies Council of India (RSCI), the Media Research Users' Council (MRUC) has decided to award in principle the contract for the Indian Readership Survey to The Nielsen Company.
The formal award of contract will follow a process of legal due diligence. Earlier, Hansa Research handled the IRS mandate.
With a sample size of more than 2,50,000 households across India, IRS is the largest continuous study of the world. The objective of the study is to collect readership information from a cross-section of individuals. It also captures information on television and cinema viewing habits, radio listening habits and internet usage.
The decision to award the contract to Nielsen followed a procedure that was set rolling in November, 2011 with the formation of RSCI by its sponsors, MRUC and Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). The RSCI was mandated by the industry to oversee the conduct of a unified IRS.
Twenty senior representatives of advertisers, agencies and publishers who served on the RSCI Managing Committee and sub-committees participated in the process to examine every aspect of the submissions of the agencies in the fray - from technical superiority to fieldwork integrity, research cost, organisation strength and stability.
Another 24 senior industry professionals contributed to the technical deliberations, led by Paritosh Joshi, chairman of the technical committee.
Joshi says Nielsen's proposal was approved being exceptional in its methodological rigour, comprehensiveness and future-readiness.
"Proposals were received from the most hallowed names in the media measurement universe and the quality of submissions was uniformly high. The knowledge and skill on display drew upon the very finest professional capability available globally. Developing an RFP award recommendation was an unusually challenging task. The design recommendation and resources committed to the project by Nielsen should enable the IRS to reassert its position of pre-eminence in Indian media measurement," he says.
Lynn de Souza, chairperson and chief executive officer, Lintas Media Group, who is also the chairman of the RSCI, adds that the industry seniors showed exceptional seriousness and commitment to the task.
"Our objective through the process was twofold - one, to achieve the construct of a study that would be the gold standard all over the world in readership measurement. And second, to involve all industry stakeholders in the decision making process with a spirit of collaboration and teamwork. The months and years ahead will present several challenges as we introduce a first-ever data capture system - the Dual Screen CAPI (Computer Aided Personal Interview) - a system that will reduce interview time, respondent fatigue and confusion, and interviewer bias of any kind," she says.
Prashant Singh, managing director, Nielsen India, says, "The MRUC's belief in the techniques and technology proposed for the forthcoming IRS will certainly transform market research in India, improving quality and effectiveness of gathering and applying consumer insights for businesses and marketers."