Newspaper Publishers Underestimate Their Readerships

Newspaper Publishers Underestimate Their Readerships

Readership figures released today from Roy Morgan Research reveal the publisher-backed figures from Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (EMMA) actually undervalue 75% of newspaper brands by a combined shortfall in audience of over 4.8 million.

When compared with Roy Morgan’s ‘last four weeks’ figures, EMMA’s underestimate the print readership of 11 out of 12 major metro newspapers by up to 43%. When online and app audiences are included, 9 of the 12 masthead brand lose out with EMMA’s scoring.

Roy Morgan counts the Sydney Morning Herald’s combined print, online and app audience at 5,653,000 in an average month, compared with EMMA’s March published figure of 5,311,000.

At 4,227,000, Roy Morgan’s total audience for The Age is 875,000 greater than what EMMA tells Fairfax.

According to EMMA, the audience for News Corp’s The Australian is 3,213,000, while Roy Morgan’s count is 20% higher at 4,020,000.

But the biggest loser under EMMA is the Financial Review, which gets a monthly masthead audience of only 1,306,000—a massive 37% below Roy Morgan’s figure of 2,086,000.

Other newspaper brands to miss out with emma’s figures are the Canberra Times (-18%), Herald Sun (-16%), Daily Telegraph(-12%), the West Australian (-12%), and the Courier-Mail (-5%).

Only the Sunday TimesAdelaide Advertiser and Mercury benefit from EMMA’s figures—but only just, with a combined audience 212,000 above Roy Morgan’s figure.

Apples with Apples: Last 4 Weeks Print and Masthead figures compared

Tim Martin, General Manager – Media, Roy Morgan Research, says:

It’s ironic that the readership metric backed and used by the major publishers is actually devaluing their own  mastheads—potentially delivering discounted rates to advertisers and decreasing publishers’ profit margins.

“The currency for readership is ‘average issue readership’ (the number of people who read an average issue of any publication) because it is designed to measure the audience that an ad placed in the newspaper has the potential to reach. Because ads are run over several days, or even weeks, the Roy Morgan data is designed to enable clients to see the reach across any period.

“Roy Morgan therefore believed a ‘last seven days’ figure to be a practical and accurate way to tally Australians’ news consumption habits across media brands—so this is what we have released as our readership figures.

“These results were always able to be re-viewed through the lens of ‘last four weeks’ by clients. However with EMMA (and publishers) claiming higher readership figures by putting their ‘last four weeks’ figure beside our ’last seven days’ figure , we thought it was time for publishers, agencies and advertisers to compare apples with apples—and so we are releasing our ‘last 4 weeks’ figures. Clearly, when compared legitimately, these readership results deliver better news for publishers.

“The gloves are off in the measurement industry, and we are not going to be shy about putting our accurate, consistent and useable readership results into the marketplace.

“Aside from the major established newspaper brands, we are also tracking emerging news brands such as Storyful and Buzzfeed. We’ll be publishing our figures for these to the market over the coming weeks.

“Roy Morgan will now be releasing monthly figures so the industry is able to make its own decision based on full facts. Roy Morgan Single Source, the source of readership data, is used by all of Australia’s major media agencies, and is the preferred data for media strategy, planning and buying. Our recently announced partnerships with Tipstone and Eyeota demonstrate the way forward for media agencies and client brands to translate their target market segments into media buying.”

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