The forecast on media revenue growth rates for 2013-2015 revealed that globally newspapers and magazines are under pressure, but South Africa (SA) by comparison shows favourable rates. The total global magazine and newspaper revenue growth rate is flat, with the only growth in digital circulation and digital advertising. Total SA magazine revenue is growing, but circulation revenue is growing faster than ad revenue. Total SA newspaper revenue is rising, but here too ad revenue remains crucial and digital revenue will contribute.
The global magazine growth rate is 0.3% while for SA magazines it is 6.6%. Global newspaper growth is 0% but for SA newspapers it is 5.2%. Other South African media growth rates in comparison to print are: television 5.5%, radio 8.8%, out of home (OOH) 7.2% and cinema 7.7%. The conference shed light on newspaper readers, print and online; 2.5 billion (35%-40%) read daily newspapers in print. In South Africa, the number is 31%. In South Africa, 47% read at least one magazine a year. Overall, 500 million people read daily newspapers in print and online (7%) while 4% of South Africans read newspaper content online.
Ask Afrika’s strategic innovations director, Grant Robertson, attended the International Print and Digital Research Forum Symposium in Nice, France, in October, where audience measurement experts from around the world gathered to share their latest research on readership. There were over 55 papers and 1 000 pages of documentation on a range of eclectic topics presented at the symposium.
The landscape that was explored included: Reading on Tablets; Reading on Apps; Data fusion; Advertising effectiveness; Alternative measures to GRP; Cross media consumption; Methodology; Viewability; Niche markets (Affluent); Web measurement standards; Trends in audience measurements; Reach And frequency models for digital; Social networks and Print wear out.
International high-level trends for print and digital media showed that print remains a challenging business. The time spent consuming media online is high and digital readership is increasingly being measured in the major audience surveys. More media owners are now reporting on total audiences regularly. Exposure is still important, but from a cross platform perspective. As time goes on, more print audience measurement will move over to the hybrid survey design with fusion – the currency expansion mode that integrates survey and behavioural data. The search for ‘engagement’ metrics is on, especially for those media far down the long tail. 70% of the 107 major global audience surveys measure digital reading in some form. However when it comes to survey design more questions than answers are raised.
Delegates learned that tablet and smartphone device growth and reading continue to increase and that digital readers, while still fewer than print readers, are more engaged. Digital reading of magazines might evolve to be further differentiated from books and traditional print reading. Digital media consumption is best described as “snacking”. Digital ads seem more effective. Time of the day and activities engaged in are critical to understanding media consumption.
All this has impacted on research methodologies in readership measurement, Robertson says, which are shifting to take cognizance that we live in a complex cross platform world. This requires investigation into currency extension and currency expansion. Robertson says this will impact on what this means for the way we think about, plan and produce readership data.
“There will be a greater role for data integration and modelling. So we need to get over our aversion to fusion in all its forms. We’ll also need to invest in the skills to do it well. We will need faster and more frequent data publication as digital access grows. That means automating systems and investing in databases, interfaces and analytic tools that are able to deal with large volumes of data and dynamic data integration,” Robertson says.
“We need an industry debate on common metrics across platforms and devices. That may mean losing some of our current (sacred?) metrics like average issue readership (AIR) – in favour of reach, time, GRPs. We also need agreed standards on the quality of the ‘big data’ we use.’
“Finally, but this may be more challenging than any other requirement – we need increased collaboration between industry currencies. We will still need some form of robust single-source, single medium currencies, if only to act as hubs for the integration with behavioural data. But as media boundaries dissolve even further, it will be important for all currencies to work together to avoid duplication and gaps.”
“The 2013 Latest Development in Worldwide Audience Research report covers 107 general population readership surveys in 81 different countries, 58 specialist audience surveys, e.g. businessmen, children, specific issue readership etc. Of the 107 surveys, the majority (83) include quality of reading/engagement questions. Source of copy is the most popular choice of question, followed by time spent reading,” says Roberston.
“More surveys have introduced at least an element of online interviewing, and there are now four which conduct at least 80% of interviews by CAWI. While the majority of surveys continue to be conducted by personal interview, over the last two years a number have replaced pen and paper interviews with electronically assisted interviews, including the first examples of interviewing by tablets and hand-held devices.
“One of the key drivers of development is the requirement in an increasing number of markets to provide audience estimates not just for print, but the range of digital platforms and devices carrying publisher content. The use of fusion is increasingly widespread as a practical way of extending the range of data delivered to users, particularly to integrate measures of the consumption of other media and digital/online reading estimates. This however requires statistical sophistication.”
Andrea Rademeyer CEO of Ask Afrika and Africa Chair of WIN/Gallup International commented, “One of the main methodological issues facing many surveys is how to measure the digital platforms on which publisher content appears, in order to provide publishers with an estimate of the extended reach of their brand. The growth of access to content via mobile and tablets has only added to the complexity of the issue. Some surveys don’t ask questions directly but use fusion or passive measurement techniques as a way of providing data on digital reading, and some ask both questions and carry out fusions/calibrations, using the data collected within the questionnaire to inform the process.’
“In Norway there is a new magazine NRS, conducted by TNS Gallup. The survey is conducted largely (80%) by CAWI with respondents randomly selected from an access panel. The readership estimates from the survey are calibrated on to Consumer & Media: Target Group Index (TGi), along with website estimates from the official Internet Survey NIP and Scores. Ask Afrika owns the local TGi license and is perfectly positioned to establish new integrated, collaborative audience measurement research methodologies in SA.”