What is QRS?

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 -

around 200.

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information is almost immediately out of date because new newspaper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