Newspaper industry searches for new audience metric across print and digital

The UK national newspaper industry is rallying together to search for a more comprehensive system to measure audiences across print, laptops, tablets and mobile – a move that could see the sector call time on its reliance on the National Readership Survey.

The national newspaper industry is exploring a new system to measure readership across print, desktop, tablet and mobile.

Newspaper marketing body Newsworks has announced it will oversee the appointment of a strategy consultant who will be responsible for investigating more modern newspaper audience measurement requirements, on behalf of its stakeholders: News UK, Trinity Mirror, Telegraph Media Group, Guardian Media Group, ESI Media and DMG Media.

As a result, these publishers have served statutory 18-month notice on the National Readership Survey, which the majority of national newspapers rely on for audience measurement currently

In 2012 the NRS service launched its Press and Digital Data monthly figures for newspapers and magazines across their print and website products. In the coming months it is also set to add mobile and table readership measurement to its data set.

The NRS will continue to work as normal during the review and will act as an “active participant” during the review process.

Simon Redican, NRS chief executive, says: “It is always appropriate for our stakeholders to constantly review their audience measurement requirements. This is increasingly true in a rapidly evolving and complex market.”

The review will not affect the newspaper industry’s relationship with the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which provides data on both print and digital newspaper products.

The chosen audience measurement system will feed into Newsworks’ Publisher Advertising Transaction System announced earlier this month, which is currently in test phase with media agencies and due to launch in 2015. The cross-industry platform aims to make it easier and more efficient for advertisers to transact across publishers’ print and digital audiences.

Rufus Olins, Newsworks chief executive, says: “It is important that we have an audience measurement system that captures the way in which people now consume media. The landscape has changed beyond recognition in the past few years and the pace of change is accelerating. We need to be at the forefront of that chance, helping advertisers and agencies make sense of it.”

Newsworks says the initiative has already gained approval from brand marketers and agencies.

Sarah Mansfield, Unilever UK and Ireland media director, says: “Audience measurement is a critical issue and has become far more complex in recent years. We welcome this initiative from the newspaper industry and look forward to seeing its outcome.”

The move towards universal audience measurement across print and digital marks the next stage of evolution for Newsworks, which rebranded from the Newspaper Marketing Agency in 2012 to better reflect how the body works with newspaper publishers across multimedia, not just print. 

Separately, Newsworks shareholder News UK, publisher of The Times and The Sun, is set to sign a deal with a “prominent” research house and at least one other media owner outside of the newspaper industry to commission a study it hopes will create a new universal tradeable metric to determine the success of advertising across all platforms. 

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