New Delhi: After a gap of four years, the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2017 will be released in the third week of January, the Readership Studies Council of India (RSCI) said.

IRS is a study of print media readership published by RSCI, an industry body jointly formed by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) and the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

The survey is critical to advertisers as it helps them decide which print publications to advertise in. The last IRS was released in January 2014.

“Absence of IRS data in the past three years or so has impacted our industry in many ways," said Ashish Bhasin, chairman of MRUC, and chairman and CEO, South Asia at the media buying agency Dentsu Aegis Networks, in a statement. “It was difficult for the agencies to plan without the availability of a comprehensive and reliable study, which provides valuable information on product ownership, demographics, and media consumption habits, across markets. Advertisers and publishers, in particular, relied heavily on intuition and market perception, leading to loss of opportunity in maximizing profitability."

In compiling IRS 2017, RSCI has made some technical and security enhancements, since the previous survey was rejected by several big newspaper publishers, citing issues in methodology and execution.

Fieldwork for IRS 2017 started in November 2016 and the data validation for four quarters was completed in December 2017. According to the RSCI statement, enhanced levels of scrutiny were adopted for IRS 2017, including “frequent field visits, backchecks, use of GPS tracking devices, audio recordings, and quarterly validations."

“There is no other readership study in the world other than the IRS that caters to a complex and diverse market like India with a sample as large as three-lakh-plus households, and with a methodology designed to deliver gold standard research. I believe the RSCI Techcom and the MRUC have put in a lot of effort to perfect the upcoming report, making it future-ready and synonymous with the market truths," said Shashi Sinha, chairman of the managing committee, RSCI, and chief executive officer of IPG Media Brands, in a statement.

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