The most mind-blowing insight coming out of the Publisher Audience Measurement Survey (PAMS), said researcher Peter Langschmidt of the Publisher Research Council, was Capitec’s market share. It emerged with 23% of the pie, only outranked by the ‘unbanked’ at 32%.
Langschmidt, with Nielsen’s Terry Murphy, presented the first findings to emerge from the PAMS data, which included what he calls the survey of the “beloved brands” which are “back”, and included with the research into newspaper and magazine publishing platforms.
“For the rest, it was interesting that the more things change, the more they stay the same,” he said. For example, he pointed out that the top 10 ranked daily newspapers reflected similar titles and readership between PAMS and AMPS with Daily Sun, Sowetan and Isolezwe taking the top three spots.
Nevertheless, he said, the process of tracking readership across multiple platforms has been a “journey lasting two years”, since the then-Print and Digital Media SA (PDMSA) left the South African Audience Research Foundation (SAARF). During the research, which took place between July and November 2017, over 17 000 respondents were interviewed.
But in a world first, the PRC introduced ‘flooding’, which allowed more than one person per household to be interviewed. This meant that with a 1:74 flooding ration, a total of 17 386 respondents took part. The survey was also regionalised. “It was crazy before with AMPS. You’d be asked about The Star, Beeld, every other newspaper. Now, if you’re in Cape Town, you will only be asked about Die Burger and the Argus. Or the local papers.” In terms of municipalities, 232 out of 233 were sampled.
The PRC’s brief was to measure and track audiences across all reading platforms to enable the buying and selling of advertising, as well as to address high AMPS RPCs (flooding dealt with this). It also had to establish a link to its Mobile Reader Panel, and enable the linking of these audiences to the Establishment Survey and IAB Effective Measure data.
The research covered titles owned by members of the PRC, and included 53 newspapers, 92 magazines and 10 online news sites.
“Members are getting poorer,” said Langschmidt, but still, the research cost 34% of what was paid for AMPS in 2015. “We’re pretty pleased about that.” He pointed out that flooding had reduced readership by 4%. “That’s the price we pay but readership per copy was too high to start with.”
And just to make things a little more interesting, Langschmidt inserted two “placebo” titles into the mix, a newspaper called The World and a magazine titled Tshepo. He was delighted, he told The Media Online after the presentation, that these titles had minimal readers – only six of 17 000. “This validates our work,” he said. “Guess what: Research works; we can carry on doing title research. If you have a non-existent title, only one in 3000 claimed. Just shows you guys, if it’s not there, people won’t claim it.”
Other standout facts for him were that “mobile is taking over the world” and that 85% of the respondents read printed titles. “We think everyone is on tablets, but they’re not,” said Langschmidt. Still, he added, mobile is going to “take over the world”. That’s where the big growth is, as this slide below shows.
PAMS, said researchers, was different to AMPS and could not be compared with the former measurement. The surveys are completely different (as can be seen in the questionnaire slide below).
Compared with LSMs, what we see is SEMs for PAMS and AMPS track well at the top end, said Murphy. But, she added, they were concerned about the differences so would do an audit and “get back to you”.
So what were the main findings in terms of titles, daily and weekly newspapers and magazines?
As Langschmidt mentioned in his opening words, the brand survey was back, something that was important to agencies.
The next step, said Murphy, was the ‘fusion’ process, as opposed to “single source”.
“Fragmentation broke the single source currency,” she said. “It must be put to bed.” Markets fragment as the world becomes more complex, which leads to fewer respondents per question, more questions to understand complexity and brands, longer questionnaires and poorer quality of responses.
“We are looking at a fusion model, with media fusion the preferred solution,” she said. This solution would bring previously separate media assets together.
This would give the most granular view of consumers and give insights into cross platform behaviour. This supports analytics, flexible media and target creation, as well as unduplicated reach and frequency planning.
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