This is proving to be a revolutionary year for industry research, so I was slightly bewildered as to why Torin Douglas devoted his column (MW July 19) to Chris White-Smith’s increasingly boring bleat about agency planners not using the Telegraph’s “Sections Planner” research.
The whole issue of measuring the readership of newspaper sections has been rumbling on for years, and is at last being addressed by the new NRS contract, due to start in January 2002.
The IPA’s own investigation of press planners and buyers has shown that measuring section readership is their primary requirement from the press market. Therefore, we applaud the Telegraph’s often pioneering work in this field. However, the fact still remains that the Telegraph’s research only provides data on Telegraph titles. Its sample base comprises respondents who are regular Telegraph readers (three or more times per week) and who are members of the Telegraph’s Lifestyle Panel – who, it could be argued, would give a more positive picture of sectional readership than a real random sample of all Telegraph readers.
Therefore, the Telegraph’s work is of limited use to planners. In practice, agency planners and buyers do take note of the Telegraph’s work along with a whole raft of other considerations (as Priscilla Rogan outlines). And one can only assume that, in practice, the Telegraph does get some benefit from this survey, otherwise why would it conduct it for a third time?
However, the key point is that the Telegraph’s Section Planner does confirm that there is a wide discrepancy in the readership of the various sections and this has a material effect on the likelihood of ads being seen, making the requirement for robust industry-wide data an absolute imperative – cue the new NRS.