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The Indian Readership Survey 2002, sponsored by the Media Research User's Council (MRUC) and now undertaken by NFO MBL Research, in planning to incorporate some new features in IRS 2002. According to Roda Mehta, chairperson of the MRUC's Technical Committee, the most interesting of these would be a series of manuals or guides specifically for use by brand managers, account planners and publishers. "The IRS is a treasure-trove of data," says Mehta, "but it is not adequately used for analysis and planning." So the need to incorporate these special manuals, she says. Adds Shekar Swamy, spokesperson for the MRUC, "We are making these improvements to make the IRS more user-friendly. Users can more readily apply the pre-analysed data."
The brand managers' manual, for example, will provide information at the category level for a related group of products. For example, under the larger category of snack foods, the manual will provide data for biscuits, namkeens, instant noodles, tomato ketchup and sauces. Under the category hot beverages, the manual will aggregate and compare information on tea, coffee, fresh milk, milk powder and dairy whitener.
The manual hopes to provide product-specific analysis defining heavy, medium and light users as well as non-users of a category culled out of a special analysis conducted across the IRS from 1997 to 2001. To this information will be linked the demographic, lifestyle and media habits to help the brand manager define his marketing strategies and tasks. Brand usage in terms of brand loyalty, duplicate brand usage, brand preference with casual consumption of other brands can be seen at a glance.
The account planners' manual will be an effective, pre-analysed tool for understanding the clients' category/brand and devise effective communication strategies. The manual will be particularly useful for the acquisition of new business with pre-analysed category, product, brand, demographics, lifestyle and media data, says MRUC.
The publishers' manual will offer pre-analysed and customised information for publishers at the national, state or town level for effective marketing of the media brand. This will include information on the publishers' own publication, their competition, as well as category, brand, lifestyle and demographics information. This tool is aimed at providing a media owner with the ability to relate the audience with the advertisers' market and brand strategies.
MRUC claims the IRS 2002 will be the most comprehensive ever, and the reporting of the data will be on the basis of the urban agglomerations according to Census 2001. This will be the first study to do so, and the reporting will be for 40 metros, including the following: the mega-metro of Mumbai, with a population of over 16 million according to Census 2001, 34 other metros with a population of one million or more, and five metros below one million population. In addition, the IRS 2002 will report at the state level as well.
Swamy says the research agency will incur some additional costs because of this but "the cost is not expected to be significant". He adds that fieldwork for the IRS will be over by April 2002 and the first reports will be out by June 2002. The pricing for the total package has not been finalised yet. This will happen only in January, Swamy says.
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