The New Nrs In Norway– From Air To Extended Currencies For Newspapers

Knut-Arne Futsæter, Ingvar Sandvik and Tore Østnes, TNS Gallup

Worldwide Readership Research Symposium Valencia 2009 Session 1.5

Introduction and Background

This paper will present the result of the Norwegian tender process for newspaper measurement which has taken place in the period from May 2008 to April 2009. To respond to the demands of the market we are developing extended currencies for newspapers and more frequent and detailed reporting of readership figures. The approach for extended currencies will be the main focus of this paper, even though the tender and our response are very extensive and touch on a number of complicated areas and issues. This paper will also describe how for many years we have reported Internet sites and mobile services together with the newspaper figures. The measurement of Internet sites is included in the new NRS agreement.

Newspaper Measurement in Norway

Readership measurement in Norway has a relatively short history (Futsæter & Østnes, 2001). In the late 1980s Gallup introduced telephone interviewing (CATI) in Norway and established a multimedia survey with marketing information. The Consumer & Media (C&M) concept was born. Since 1988 the Norwegian NRS has been an integrated part of this multimedia survey. C&M is the most important tool for media agencies, media and advertisers for describing markets and target groups, and for choosing media for advertising campaigns in Norway.

At the Venice symposium in 2001, we described our refined RR method, Pure Recent Reading (PRR), for establishing AIR figures for Norwegian newspapers (Futsæter & Østnes, 2001). The demand for more frequent and detailed reporting resulted in a change from CATI FRY to CATI PRR in Norway (Futsæter & Holbæk-Hanssen 2000). PRR calculates the number of readers for the relevant issue periods, depending on the day of the interview and the day of publishing. We also believe that Pure Recent Reading better satisfies the strict theoretical assumptions for Recent Reading, which are acknowledged, but often ignored (Futsæter & Østnes, 2003).

New demands from the market

In recent years, the newspaper industry in Norway has been challenged by other media, advertising agencies and advertisers (Holbæk-Hanssen & Futsæter, 2009). In 2007 the advertisers and media agencies pointed out the need for:

  • more precise measure of readership than AIR
  • more frequent and detailed reporting of readership
  • more qualitative readership data as an integrated part of the NRS
  • documentation by the media of ad- and sales effects

The advisory board for the Norwegian NRS (SAL) in 2008 concluded:

  • existing readership figures are credible as an OTS measurement for newspapers
  • more frequent and detailed reporting of readership is necessary
  • the market needs more than OTS figures for an average issue of a title
  • media responsibility stops at the third stage of the Media Effect Pyramid (see chapter 2)

The NRS Tender

The most important aspect of the Tender Invitation for the main survey is to keep the core elements of the NRS and C&M as they are today:

  • establishing official readership figures (AIR) for the measured titles
  • Pure Recent Reading (PRR) by CATI is the preferred interview method
  • link to target group information
  • measuring of Internet sites, mobile services, local radio and local TV in the same survey
  • possibilities for multimedia analyses

Based on the Media Effect Pyramid the media agencies and advertisers have put pressure on the newspapers to develop a more precise measure of readership compared to AIR, and to deliver more frequent and detailed reporting. In view of this, in 2008 the Norwegian Media Businesses’ Association (MBL) invited tenders for a new newspaper industry survey to start in 2010. Following requests from advertisers and advertising agencies, the newspapers (MBL) focused on three elements:

  1. To report readership figures more often than twice a year
  2. To give the market more accurate figures for smaller, local titles
  3. To raise newspaper currency from level two to level three of the Media Effect Pyramid (MEP) to compete with TV (TV-meter), radio (PPM) and the Internet (NIP).

It was pointed out that providing readership figures beyond AIR for single titles or groups/syndicates would require additional research. The purpose for this research was to link Page Traffic findings to the official readership figures, and to report extended currencies for newspapers.

The tender invitation was issued in May 2008 to 11 research companies, and resulted in a contract with TNS Gallup in April 2009 for a period of 5+3 years.

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