Tuesday, March 11, 2008

U.S. mag industry to move to total readership measurement

The Magazine Publishers of America announced Monday that, in cooperation with McKinsey and Company, it proposes to launch a new system of magazine measurement based on total readership rather than circulation.

The proposed system could transform the generally accepted metrics for larger U.S. magazines. Advertisers would be able to get issue-specific data on key demographics, individual ad recall and self-reported consumer action and purchasing intent. The goal would be to have such data available within three months for monthlies and two months for weeklies.

Initially the new measurement would apply to the 200 largest magzines, but the MPA said in a press release that it was exploring a variety of methods to shorten up the time to report and to extend the measurement to more titles. Nina Link, the President and CEO of MPA said:
There is clearly a desire for a magazine measurement system that is comparable to other media, as well as more timely and accountable to advertising results.

Jack Kliger, the President and CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., who, with many others in the industry, had been campaigning for readership, not distribution, to become the currency of the magazine business, said:
Advertising effectiveness measurement in other media is derived from an audience, viewership or readership metric, and it is therefore important that magazine measurement is comparable to other media, particularly as multi-platform packages gain traction.

Using readership metrics is a better model, not only for advertisers but for our magazines’ relationship with their readers. This initiative will help our consumer marketers and editors better understand readers’ needs and behavior through improved measurement tools and direct marketing materials, which will become even more targeted to what readers want.
In Canada, most large magazines already sell principally on readership as measured by the Print Measurement Bureau, although only on an annualized basis. There will probably be pressure now from agencies for at least the larger Canadian titles to provide more frequent and timely audience metrics.

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