The Indian Readership Survey (IRS) has had its share of controversies last year. However, the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) seems to have made some improvements in its survey methodology for IRS 2003-2004.
One of the major initiatives is the expansion of coverage in the first round of IRS 2003-2004 from 40 to 48 cities. For the second round due in September, the number of cities covered would go up to 62. MRUC plans to include another 51 cities in IRS 2004-2005.
MRUC claims to have taken several steps to remove anomalies and errors in the survey data. One of these was getting an independent observer to do 100 per cent back checks whenever an anomaly was found. According to a senior official at MRUC, all interviewers at the grassroots level were trained and field managers back checked 30 per cent of the interviews. To ensure error-free data, information converted to electronic format was checked for logical and manual errors, and statistical tests were used to check data veracity over three consecutive rounds.
Another significant change is the move away from socio cultural regions (SCRs) to IRS sampling districts (ISDs). In earlier surveys, SCRs were treated as homogeneous regions for sampling purposes. However, since each SCR is a large geographic entity, this assumption did not always hold. Especially in cases where SCRs bordered state boundaries, data about the population's mother tongue and languages known had a high possibility of being inaccurate. Considering these factors, in the latest IRS survey, 58 SCRs were divided into 159 ISDs, with each ISD consisting of four to five adjoining districts. Using ISDs has the twin advantage of better sample representation and better readership estimates of local editions of newspapers.
Owing to their large size and heterogeneity in demographics, lifestyle and media habits, both Mumbai and Delhi have been divided into four zones each. The other metros - Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore - have been divided in two zones, main city and suburbs. The division of major metros into zones would also be of great help to marketers, publishers, media and media planners in their understanding of each area's potential for market prioritisation and advertising coverage.
In rural markets, where a shopkeeper is a major influencer of purchases, information for IRS 2003-2004 was gathered from 5,841 shops in 2,894 villages and from 68,580 rural housewives. MRUC has also introduced a countryside key rural market planning information database for marketers targeting rural markets. © 2004 agencyfaqs!