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Two Readership Polls Won't Work According to Industry Feedback

23 Jun 2009

As reported in Publishing Edge last week, The Newspaper Works have launched a tender for a measurement contract for newspapers which would compete with the existing readership survey provided by Roy Morgan Research. Following this report a split has appeared with the magazine industry attacking this move by the newspaper industry.


As reported in The Australian, Nick Chan, chief executive of Seven Media's Pacific Magazines and head of the Magazine Publishers Association believes two sets of data has the potential to create confusion, waste time and cause unnecessary debate when there was an accepted system currently in place that was understood and used.


Chan told The Australian that,  "At the moment the print media's future is being questioned by a whole bunch of advertisers. I don't need the added responsibility of spending 15 minutes within a 30-minute pitch explaining methodology. It is ideal for print to be on the one (readership survey). And that is what clients and media buyers wish to have."


The Australian Financial Review has been told by Gary Morgan of Roy Morgan that the reason Newspaper Works, which is funded by Australia's newspaper companies, wants to take over is self interest. He said, "The only reason they are not happy is because we sometimes get lower figures than they want people to believe."


Michelle Levine of Roy Morgan has also been quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald as saying, "The market will decide which information it believes - that which comes from newspaper or independent data."


Levine added, "We think Roy Morgan is world's best practice, and everyone understands that, so this is not about that but the newspaper industry wanting to have control over the measurement and the data that's released."


Tim Burrowes draws the following conclusion in his media blog, MuMBRELLA, "Now there is a little more to it than that. Sources close to some of the previous discussions say they have struggled to get Roy Morgan to come to the table and open its methodology to close scrutiny, so the research company may have brought some of this upon itself. And Roy Morgan only carved out its market position as the main readership source through getting on and doing it (not that there's anything wrong with that) rather than originally having an industry wide mandate."


Burrowes went on to say that, "One of the key things at stake here is media buyers have long wanted to have figures for sectional readership. It seems likely that the number of people reading, say, the sports section would be significantly less than the front page - it's something that would certainly affect rate negotiations. So it's not the sort of transparency the newspaper owners would necessarily want."



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