imrb internationalIMRB International is planning to launch an Audience Measurement service for the Internet industry in India, MediaNama has learned from multiple sources. A part of the plan was to distribute USB drives with software that will track users Internet habits. IMRB already collaborates for Industry research with the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). While sources told us that this is an IAMAI-IMRB project, on being contacted IAMAI President Subho Ray told us that it’s an independent initiative of the IMRB. The project is being led by Balendu Srivastava, and was expected to be launched in December. We’ve contacted Srivastava, and are awaiting a response.

On why this is needed, and the opportunity for IMRB

Frankly, this is a much needed initiative, since there is no reliable third party data available on the Internet market in India. Media Planners use multiple sources of data, primarily to compare websites – including information supplied by publishers, data from Comscore and charts from Alexa in order to assist in media buying/advertising decisions. Google has also recently opened its AdPlanner to all Google subscribers, but – the data isn’t very accurate. At the same time, we’d like to fisk through their methodology before taking a call on the accuracy of the data.

IMRB will compete with Comscore, which charges companies between $15,000 and $31,250 in India for an annual subscription to data, depending on the metrics that they have access to. Several publishers use Comscore data to pitch to Media Planners, but at the same time, many have themselves told us that the data is not accurate. When I had contacted Comscore earlier this year for details of their methodology, the company had claimed a panel base of 16,000 users from whom they collect data, but did not give clarifications on their methodology. Even those buying Comscore data could not outline the methodology. Industry sources claim that Comscore was willing to set up office in India with a dedicated team for the country, and increase their sample size, as long as they were guaranteed an annual revenue of $1 million from the country.

That’s exactly the opportunity that IMRB appears to be addressing.