The new readership metric put together in a collaboration by media owners and agencies has been hailed as "one of the key moments in the publishing industry" by Newspaper Works CEO Mark Hollands.
The first results from EMMA (Enhanced Media Metrics) are set to be released on Monday, three days after established player Roy Morgan unveils its own revamped readership data.
However, because EMMA is compiled mainly via online surveys it will one made available on a monthly basis, with Morgan's data currently released of every quarter at the same time as circulation figures.
At a press briefing today Hollands greeted the new metric as one of the three major breakthroughs in newspaper publishing, along with the formation of the Australian Bureau of Circulation (ABC) in 1932 and the establishment of the Australian Press Council in 1976.
He hailed it as a new era for "transparency", as it seeks to blend accurately hard copy and online user behaviour across print, mobile, tablet and PC, to build a full picture of who the audiences are for mastheads, where they consume, down to which sections of papers and magazines they read the most.
The new metric will also pull in the Nielsen online monthly data and layer it on top, providing more detailed demographic and readership profiles for advertiser, media agencies and publishers.
Andrew Green, chief marketing officer of global media for survey compilers Ipsos, said while they had drawn on the research they conduct in the UK and France, the depth and scope of EMMA makes it a global "best in class", "it's better than what's in the UK, US or any other country" he added.
In terms of methodology the survey will reach 54,000 people per year, mainly recruited by phone, but around 8% through door-to-door methods. They will then complete an initial online survey taking around 45 minutes, with around half competing a secondary survey looking at consumer habits in various categories.
They are then sent a link online, and are asked to log in once when convenient and complete a five minute survey about what they have read and visited in the proceeding day. This data is then extrapolated to give a readership number for each masthead across the mediums.
It will also see for the first time around 130 regional papers, normally too small to be surveyed, a readership number, using Census data around demographics and the survey data.
The developers also hope to roll out an engagement measure later this year.
But when asked whether we would see the monthly figures turning into daily figures Mal Dale, general manager of The Readership Works, said that was in feasible "unless agencies want to fund us having a sample size of 500,000".
He added the data would be too granular and of no real statistical significance from the current sample, which aims for around 130 responses per day.
The Media Federation of Australia (MFA) and Magazine Publishers' Association (MPA) have also come on board with the new metric, and will have boring rights on The Readership Works board, although its wholly owned by The Newspaper Works.
Publishers are hoping the new data will be adopted by advertisers and agencies as the dominant currency when deciding advertising spend, as they brace for more bad news from Friday's latest round of ABC data.
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