In recent weeks, a number of reports have appeared about fundamental changes in direction for the national readership surveys (NRS) in various countries.

New steps are being taken in the Netherlands to include the circulation figures in the NOM (Nationaal Onderzoek Multimedia) organisation, which administers the NRS study.

The objective is to make the sales figures more transparent and ensure they are more in line with the reach figures. This year, the reach figures have also provided additional insight into the advertising reach of printed media, a parameter for which advertisers have been waiting for some time now.

The United Kingdom’s newspaper publishers, in cooperation with consumer magazine publishers, leading advertisers, and agencies, have announced the timing for their wide-ranging review of audience measurement for published media brands, with the aim of introducing a new system of measurement across multiple platforms from early 2016.

According to Rufus Olins, Newsworks’ CEO: “All stakeholders have agreed that the measurement system for published media and their digital variants has not sufficiently evolved to account for an increasingly multi-platform environment.

We are seeking to establish a new measurement system for published media in the UK, capable of tracking readership and usage across multiple platforms and securing consistent measures of engagement applicable across the industry.”

Earlier this year in Belgium, the CIM (a joint industry committee) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a new national readership survey in which newspapers, magazines, and the free press are included.

Despite the demand for an innovative study proposal that responds to changes in the market, the committee did not go beyond agreeing to the same working method for the next few years.

The process, however, was stopped by the news media association, primarily because the proposal did not adequately reflect the expectations of either publishers or advertisers.

Newspapers and magazines evolve quite differently with regard to their digital approaches. News media companies need a daily evaluation of their multi-platform reach so they can demonstrate the performance to advertisers through campaign reporting.

Dailymetrie®, an initiative of De Persgroep, offers a perfect example of what possible new initiatives can mean for the market. It is now up to the NRS to take action.

All three examples show the importance of new parameters for measuring the performance of news media:

  • We are a daily medium and want to see this reflected in our reach parameters.

  • We are multi-platform and, as such, we want to measure both net reach and gross contacts.

  • We want to demonstrate the performance of the advertisements through all of our platforms in a single campaign report, for both media coverage and advertising reach.

It is now up to the joint industry committies and the research institutes to formulate the right answers and methodology.