NEWS22 July 2009

Indian newspaper surveys move towards merger

Asia Pacific M&A

INDIA— The producers of India’s two rival newspaper readership surveys are moving closer to a merger.

Committees formed by the bodies behind both the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) and the National Readership Survey (NRS) are recommending to the boards of both organisations that they combine their efforts.

Hormusji Cama of the Indian Newspaper Society, a major backer of the NRS, told Research that if the committees’ recommendations find favour with the boards, “I think a merger is on the cards.”

The NRS, previously carried out by Nielsen, has not been published for three years because of concerns over the data, and the economic downturn has strengthened the case for a single survey - a change that some in the industry have been calling for for years.

Cama said that a merged survey would most likely be based on the IRS, “continuing in a slightly reformatted form”.

“We’re planning to see if we can have a new management committee with equal representation from both boards,” he said.

Cama said the motivation behind the merger was to be able to produce a more comprehensive and robust survey. “What’s happening now is the available funds are getting split into two suryeys, and as a result both surveys are to my mind incomplete. If we can combine our efforts and combine our finance, we’re going to be able to have an increased sample size and I think that’s ultimately what will give us a more robust survey.”