In April, ABC announced a new, affordable readership program for small to midsize U.S. newspapers to report data via the Audience-FAX program. The Telegraph in Macon, Ga. was one of the first papers to enroll in the program.
The Telegraph is the third-largest newspaper in Georgia and the primary print news organization in central Georgia. Like many newspapers, both circulation and readership data are important to The Telegraph to present its true reach. Readership information, including age, gender and education, gives both publishers and advertisers a clear snapshot of their audience.
With an average Sunday circulation of approximately 65,000, The Telegraph is a midsize newspaper. While small and midsize newspapers value readership information, recruiting vendors and executing credible readership studies can become quite costly.
Dave Gossett, vice president of circulation for The Telegraph, said they needed to update their previous readership study. They wanted a service that would provide current readership information as well as an understanding of how readers viewed certain sections of the paper at a reasonable price.
Last spring, ABC contracted with American Opinion Research (AOR) to start an affordable readership program for small to midsize newspapers. The program was an ideal fit for The Telegraph—a midsize paper in need of readership information that was credible and within its means. When Gossett heard about ABC’s new service, he was one of the first to join.
The study found that both The Telegraph’s print product and website, www.macon.com, achieve high readership and broad reach. David Robbins, VP of Advertising, and his staff plan to target this information to attract advertisers. Gossett stressed the importance of having an audited readership study to provide transparent data, which is crucial to advertisers. As long as ABC provides an affordable service, The Telegraph will participate.
About the AOR readership program
Readership is a key indicator of audience and reach for newspapers across the country. As Gossett, who oversees circulation at The Telegraph, said, “Readership is very important to us and our advertisers as they make buying decisions.”
It is especially important to have readership studies that both publishers and advertisers can trust. Already the gold standard in newspaper circulation audits, ABC set out to have a role in verifying readership. In 2007, ABC launched Audience-FAX, an initiative to combine newspaper readership and online audience into ABC’s U.S. newspaper reports. The program now has more than 175 participating U.S. newspapers.
The newspaper’s audited readership data can be reported on:
This year, ABC broadened its readership study verification services to include a specialized program for small to midsize U.S. newspapers. ABC contracted with American Opinion Research to launch an affordable readership program for papers that did not meet Audience-FAX tier one standards. These papers were provided with low-cost, reliable readership studies reported via the Audience-FAX program.
The AOR readership studies are an alternative to the traditional tier-one Audience-FAX studies.
“We needed to update information from our last study, and ABC was offering a cost-effective way to do that,” Gossett said.
These readership studies begin at a total cost of $11,500, with volume discounts that can lower costs to $9,500. Newspapers can also upgrade their studies to include customized questions for an additional $1,000.
AOR researchers conduct interviews regarding reading habits and demographic information via landline calls for approximately one month. They then project the data against the area’s actual population. The numbers are reviewed and sent to the newspaper, which receives a complete research study disc, cross tabs and details of audit findings.
In the case of The Telegraph, the AOR program cut the cost of an audited readership study, while still delivering valuable, useful reader information.
“We will present the information to advertisers to demonstrate the broad reach we can offer them in reaching their customers,” Gossett said.
For more information
Contact your newspaper marketing manager.
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