Mediamark Research Inc. this week announced it will launch a pilot study in May to determine whether the Internet can be used to gauge how quickly consumers read individual issues of magazines.
MRI will survey 2,500 adults each week over the Internet. Each participant will be shown magazine covers along with issue dates and asked if they had looked into or read those specific issues. The survey will also look at how consumers obtained those magazines and where they read them. "This experiment is not intended to replace MRI’s National Survey of the American Consumer," said MRI president Kathi Love in a statement. "Rather, it’s intended to leverage learning from our core study to estimate readership of specific magazine issues so marketers can get affix on ad exposure for their individual print campaigns." The study includes all 230 titles that MRI surveys and is self-funded by MRI.
Data on specific issues is among the new focal points to make magazine metrics more comparable with other media. McPheters & Company is currently conducting a beta test of readership.com, a service that enables agencies and publishers to go online, enter an ad schedule and receive audience data, including age and gender breaks, for specific issues of specific titles, similar to television’s Nielsen ratings. Currently, 207 magazine titles are tracked by the service. "No one has had issue-by-issue data before," says president Rebecca McPheters. "Publishers have to become comfortable with the idea that not every issue performs the same."