NEWS16 February 2010

Radio stations attack Indian ratings system

Asia Pacific Features

INDIA— Radio station owner Reliance Media World has accused the Media Research User Council’s ratings system of undercounting the number of listeners in smaller towns.

In a report in The Financial Express Reliance Media World, which operates 45 FM stations across the country, attacked the use of the MRUC’s Indian Readership Survey (IRS) to provide radio ratings, claiming that it has undercounted listeners by up to 30%.

The IRS – used primarily to measure newspaper and magazine readership – is also used to measure radio audiences across India. Major metro areas are covered by the Radio Audience Measurement Service, operated by TV measurement company TAM, but smaller towns rely on the IRS data.

CEO Tarun Katial was quoted as saying: “IRS is a grossly erroneous measurement system, designed primarily for print readership. Its results clearly under-report the number of radio listeners by around 30% less than customised radio measurement systems. This affects revenue generation, both presently and potentially, showcases de-growth of the industry, causes loss of employment and also deprives the tier II markets of a cost-effective mode of advertising.”

An un-named executive from another reportedly said that by the time respondents come to the radio section at the end of the 34-page IRS questionnaire, they could be fatigued, which would raise “serious doubts on the authenticity of the response”.

Reliance Media World is said to be in talks with another company to launch an alternative radio ratings service.

In another article on, Fever FM’s head of marketing Neeraj Chaturvedi said: “There are multiple levels of issues with the IRS data but the basis is the method followed. They follow the recall method and the most recalled brands gain mileage irrespective of their listenership and stand in the market. Secondly, it is not specifically designed for radio so; it cannot be accepted as a currency in the industry.

Neither Reliance Media World or the Media Research Users council could be reached at the time of publication.