- The Newspaper Publishing Association has acknowledged for the first time that the National Readership Survey (NRS) is outdated and no longer serves the needs of the newspaper market.
The admission was made by Bob Hulks, the independent chairman of the NPA Review Group -- the body which is looking in tandem with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and Periodical Publishers Association at how the NRS should develop in the future. He told delegates at the MRG conference last week that newspaper investment research was minimal and the research under funded. He pointed out that it accounted for around 0.08p per £1 of advertising revenue, compared to 32p for TV and 71p for radio.
He added: "The NRS in its current form no longer serves newspaper needs. Advertisers want more accountability, agencies want more data. Print media has changed hugely over the last 40 years, but the basic readership measure is unaltered."
Hulk's comments were welcomed by agencies, who saw it as a huge step forward for the NPA, which had previously refrained from joining in the criticisms of NRS made by other groups.
Peter Bowman, research director at Mediapolis, said: "It is quite radical for newspapers to talk like that. It comes out of the realisation that, in a fragmenting world, newspapers should be a mass medium."
Lynne Robinson, head of research at the IPA, said: "I found Bob Hulk's speech incredibly encouraging because we do want open minds ."
She added that there may well be more than one NRS survey, with the possibility of one covering basic readership and another looking at more qualitative research.