Rebecca McPheters: President, McPHETERS & COMPANY
Her readership.com service may give publishers and advertisers their first real time look at magazine performance.
While Jack Kliger is telling the industry it needs to adopt new measurement metrics, Rebecca McPheters is giving them the promising new means to do so through a new service called readership.com.
McPheters & Company started working on the service two years ago. "Everyone knew there had to be a better way" than ratebase reporting, McPheters says. "We knew what we wanted to do but weren’t sure that when we got down to the nitty gritty if that would work."
Readership.com is now in the field with a full-scale beta test and will be building out distribution once it’s proven its viability. The system is based on U.S. Postal Service data as well as field surveys. As of now 207 titles are measured. "We have all the major publishing companies supporting the beta," says McPheters. "We also have StarCom MediaVest, Universal McCann and we plan to pick up at least one more big agency."
To use readership.com, agencies and publishers can go online, enter an ad schedule based on specific issues of specific titles. They’ll be able to see audience by issue similar to the Nielsen ratings, including age and gender breaks. "We expect that when everything is up and running we’ll be able to report distribution data along with audience data on an issue-by-issue basis," says McPheters.
The response from publishers may not be all positive. "No one has had issue-by-issue data before," McPheters asks. "Publishers have to become comfortable with the idea that not every issue performs the same.
"Print has been losing share to other media for quite some time and for a lot of reasons, but the fact that we have an archaic measurement system has not served our cause," says McPheters. "If we can be more accountable, print has a really strong story. One of the reasons it’s so hard for advertisers to understand this is that it’s been very difficult to develop appropriate print input for the mixed market model that the more sophisticated advertisers are using to measure the effectiveness."
VITAL STATS: Currently, 207 titles are measured in readership.com.