What is QRS?
Quality of Reading Survey (QRS), which made its debut this year, is the
biggest piece of consumer press research since the introduction of the
National Readership Survey (NRS). It was commissioned by the Periodical
Publishers Association, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers.
What does it measure?
The most important part of the survey is page exposure (PEX), which
shows the number of times a page is exposed to a reader. It takes into
account time spent reading, the number of times a paper or magazine is
picked up, and readers’ behaviour. It aims to give media planners and
buyers a greater understanding of readers.
Why do we need QRS?
The idea is to give advertisers and agencies deeper print media research
than that in NRS data. NRS only measures audience size and
As well as measuring the parent newspapers, QRS also measures readership
levels across individual newspaper supplements - such as The Sunday
Times travel section
What publications are included in the survey?
The survey measures all consumer magazines and newspapers in the NRS -
How is the survey measured and how often is it carried out?
A sample audience (7531) is interviewed face to face.
It was originally envisaged that QRS would be carried out in full every
three years. However, the PPA has confirmed it intends to sit down with
advertisers and buyers and see if it should be carried out more
In the meantime, QRS is updated quarterly with new NRS data.
So what has QRS discovered?
Results of the first QRS include: the life of a magazine or newspaper
supplement is twice that of newspapers. The Sunday Times sports
supplement was the least read part of the paper, with a score of just
50%. A magazine is picked up an average of 5.4 times, while a newspaper
is picked up 2.6 times on average.
Are there any problems with it?
The fact that, at the moment, it is only planned to refresh the research
every three years is a problem. Many buyers feel that the survey’s
information is almost immediately out of date because new newspaper
supplements are launched so frequently.
There are also some anomalies in the results. For example, newspaper
sports and business sections score lowest with all the main quality
Also, QRS does not reveal how different sections of magazines perform
and it can’t tell an advertiser if someone has read specific pages of a