The decision by British newspapers to split away from a combined research measurement system they have shared for 60 years with the magazine industry is apparently driven by a hunger for better information about digital audiences. Guy Consterdine, research consultant for the international magazine association FIPP says the National Readership Service (NRS) has worked well, but magazines and newspapers are diverging:
To some extent one could see a split coming. As in so many other countries, for most national newspapers their total audiences have become weighted towards websites and other digital sources, as the latter grow rapidly while their print circulations continue to fall. For example, The Guardian has 10.4 million visitors to its website but only 3.9 million adult readers of the daily printed newspaper. Consumer magazines, by contrast, have audiences heavily weighted towards print. The newspapers’ core product – the fast-moving news, continuously updated – is so much more suited to digital media than once-a-day print that newspapers (or newsbrands as they are increasingly calling themselves) must focus more on their digital audiences in future, especially if as some commentators predict most newsbrands will eventually become digital-only.In Canada, magazines are served by the PMB, the Print Measurement Bureau and newspapers are served by NADBank. PMB has been developing a combined print and online audience measurement mechanism in collaboration with comScore.