Six newspapers protest survey results

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The Times of India published a public statement ”What’s new? certainly not IRS 2014”, challenging the correctness of the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2014 report. The statement is issued by six dailies Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, Amar Ujala, Dharitri, TOI and The Hindu. The IRS 2014 report has been condemned for three reasons: One, for presenting skewed readership numbers (towards the higher side) of the above mentioned six dailies; two, for re-publishing three fourth of the ‘flawed’ IRS 2013 report; and three, having based the survey on a dated sample (January – February 2014).

Among the skewed readership number and anomalies are Dainik Jagran’s 7%  growth in readership, Dainik Bhaskar’s 8% growth, Amar Ujala growth by 10%, Dharitri by 9%, TOI by 5% and The Hindu by 10%. On the flip side, it showed that the Hindu Business Line is having thrice as many readers in Manipur as in Chennai; Hitavada, the leading English newspaper of Nagpur with a certified circulation of over 60,000, not having a single reader – these two results, one must note, are word for word from IRS 2013 report.

In 2013, 18 major media houses stated, “The IRS survey is riddled with shocking anomalies, which defy logic and commonsense. They also grossly contradict audited circulation figures (ABC) of long standing,”. 

Following this, The Media Research Users Council Board (MRUC) and the Readership Survey Council of India (RSCI) had temporarily deferred the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2013 till 31 March 2014 and said that subscribers and members should refrain from using the IRS 2013 data. This year, the media houses have gone a step further to withdraw their memberships from the IRS till such a date when ‘indisputably unflawed ‘survey results are published.

Excerpts from the public statement 

…The fact is, three-fourth of the survey is the same as the discredited IRS 2013; only one-fourth of the sample is fresh. 

…Many media houses have subsequently withdrawn from the IRS membership. Given that IRS 2013 was riddled with biases and errors, it is obvious that many of the mistakes will be carried over to the new round, since three-fourths of the data used is the same. 

… Indeed, we are at a loss to understand what possible reason a reputed organization like MRUC could have for releasing such stale data at this point of time even though it must surely be fully aware of its numerous shortcomings. 

We look forward to a time when the IRS will actually produce a survey that is indisputably unflawed. Till then, we will continue to point out anomalies in their findings and not attach any credence to their numbers — even if they show us in a favourable light…

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