Australian readership… again

Yesterday I wrote about the Australian readership data, which showed increasing and decreasing readership for different editions of Australian free daily mX.

These data have been disputed before (already more than two years ago actually). The publisher of mX has problems with the small sample of readers interviewed and the method used.

The discussion looks like what happened in London recently. Also in UK the sample and method have been criticized.

Earlier discussions like this arose in Austria, the Netherlands and Canada, to mention only a few examples. In some cases papers started their own research or moved to other research firms.

In Australia this is also the case. And they might have a point. If we look at readership of mX in Melbourne, the pattern is rather erratic, and not explained by circulation: down in the third year, after that up again, down in 2006, up a year later and then again a drop. It could very well be a result of the method used.

Publisher News International now uses ‘Panorama’ research (see their company website). Their readership data are 125,000 for Brisbane, 314,000 for Sydney and 313,000 for Melbourne. Differences with the Roy Morgan research are huge: two to three times as high.

With a circulation of 41,000 in Brisbane, 96,000 in Sydney and 91,200 in Melbourne it would mean more than three readers per copy, which is not impossible but still rather high. The Roy Morgan research has less than 1 reader per copy in Brisbane and Sydney and just over 1 reader per copy in Melbourne where mX is an established brand – which is probably in all three cases too low. Pick-up rate in Australia seems to be quite good.

More problematic, however, is the use of different research firms (meaning different methods, time spans and samples) by different newspapers. It would only hurt the industry in the long run. It would certainly lead to low trust by advertisers – and to more pressure on rates.

4 Responses to “Australian readership… again”

  1. Andreas Says:

    There is obviously an Anti-Murdoch-Bias, isn’t it?

  2. Piet Bakker Says:

    well, both disputes in Australia and London are about Murdoch’s two free papers.

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