A New Way To Audit Magazine Readers
Last week, ABC released its first Magazine Subscriber Profile Verification Audit Report, a new report that will provide information on the gender, age, education level and employment status of subscribers. The information will be beneficial to advertisers and agencies. "It will give greater profile to subscriber studies, so there will be more clout within the buying community," says John Payne, senior vice president of strategic planning for ABC.
The company conducted a test report for Guideposts, a spiritual magazine that just began accepting advertising in January. Of its 2.6 million subscribers, 85.4 % are female, the report said. Further tests will follow, which will enable ABC to standardize the reporting process and determine how much to charge for the reports. Payne indicates the price will be less than $5,000.
Magazines can order the reports when they conduct their own subscriber studies, which they are required to do twice a year, Payne says.
Payne says a variety of other subscriber studies are offered by different companies, but "research firms vary in terms of competence" and the information they release isn't comparable. The new ABC reports will provide comparable information, with the same data provided for each magazine. Magazines will have to follow ABC's stringent guidelines to generate the data that ABC audits. For instance, they'll have to ask the questions in a certain way and conduct the studies by mailing them with a cover letter to a random sample group of subscribers that ABC has authorized.
"Ad agencies and advertisers will support initiatives that improve their confidence in the media buying process," Payne says. "Particularly with all the new magazine start-ups that are not yet measured using syndicated research like MRI, ABC's stamp of approval would signal a greater level of confidence in subscriber studies."