PReSS Survey Reveals Magazines' Connections To Readers
In a somewhat surprising twist, it is the publishers who stand to receive high marks from Monroe Mendelsohn's newest research tool, PReSS (Publication Readership Satisfaction Survey), who are promising to provide the strongest promotional platform for the new product.
PReSS, released back in November, is comprised of a 17,600-person survey of nearly 200 consumer titles, ranking magazines on attributes such as "read three out of four issues," and "is one of my favorites" in an effort to measure readers' level of connection with various titles. Originally, reports had ad agencies as being more interested in PReSS, as they sought additional means to judge magazines against each other. Conversely, most publishers were believed to be resistant to PReSS, fearing the receipt of a poor ranking.
Currently, most agencies appear to be giving PReSS the once-over, and many are still expected to utilize the product once they learn how to use it.
Meanwhile, ad sales professionals are becoming PReSS advocates.
"As a newsstand-driven publisher, we are always looking to research that goes beyond traditional audience metrics," said Pete Michalsky, EVP, General Manager at Bauer Advertising Sales. "This should augment our existing sales presentations. We do expect to use this as we get more into it."
Michalsky believes that PReSS better demonstrates the value of the relationship between readers and magazines like In Touch Weekly.
"What this does is allow agencies to look past the audience figures and see output-based accounting," he said. "Do the readers respond to the magazine?"
According to Stuart Marvin, vice president of Integrated Marketing & Sales at the Sporting News, PReSS data serves to bolster the impression that certain magazines have a unique connection to readers, something that advertisers want to hear. "It has always been our selling proposition that our magazine had a greater connection to readers than other sports books," he said. "This really played to our strengths."
Better than did existing magazine research, like Mediamark's twice-a-year study. "What was lacking from MRI were some of the qualitative measures," Marvin said. "PReSS provides more depth and dimension."
Marvin expects to start preaching about PReSS data to buyers and planners shortly. "We're still in the analytical stage," he said. "But it adds teeth to our sales presentations."
While some agencies have investigated the possibility of conducting their own studies measuring readership connectivity with individual magazines, Michalsky believes that products like PReSS negate the need for such research, particularly in view of its cost. "The investment need to get a representative sample is so high," he said.
While some have reported that the initial PReSS interface was difficult to manipulate, Marvin believes that it is only a matter of time before the new product is used by more planners.
"The market is moving toward accountability," he said. "Ultimately they'll be a trickle down effect. I'd be really surprised if this is not embraced."
Marc Turk, information manager at Carat Insight, said that his team is actively digging into the new PReSS data, and expects to have the product available to planners for the agency's next print-planning cycles. "There are interesting stories within the PReSS data," he said. "We just don't know what the story is and why [the story is what it is]."