Groups Plan Survey on Magazine Readership

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A magazine readership survey planned for September will seek to gather the most comprehensive data ever on audience size, demographics and product usage and help publishers identify target markets for advertisers.

The 1998 Magazine Readership Survey will be conducted by M2 Magazine Metrics, a joint venture of Audits & Surveys Worldwide and Kantar Media Research, New York. Invitations to participate in the survey were sent to more than 500 magazine publishers May 1, and more than 300 respondents are anticipated. Survey results are expected in early 1999.

"This survey is in direct response to the need to affordably measure more magazines and develop a system to enable publishers to capture their share of direct marketing revenues,'' said Paul Donato, president and CEO of Kantar Media Research.

Total audience is reflected by more than straight circulation figures, and the survey will attempt to pinpoint all individuals that read a particular magazine. This number includes single-copy buyers at the newsstand as well as pass-along readers of subscription copies. It also will identify the audience of teen-age readers.

The survey also hopes to deliver for the first time accurate audience numbers for small- and medium-circulation magazines. M2 Magazine Metrics will offer customized database analysis and other services to these smaller publications that may not have the resources to start up their own marketing operation.

"Only the larger magazine publishing houses have built their own database and know how to use them,'' said M2 spokesman Hugh White.

Data will be gathered through a detailed questionnaire. The product usage section, for example, is six pages long and contains questions on the use of automotive, computer hardware and software and financial products.

"The more knowledge you have, the easier it is to work with advertisers," White said.

Armed with this knowledge, publications can provide advertisers an audience with a history of buying their product or a propensity to buy in the future and propose direct-response campaigns as an additional way to reach prime buyers.

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