Call for Synopses

Cover Letter

Dear Colleague,

What is happening where in readership research? Have questions been solved, experiments been conducted, since last we met in Florence? Are there new requirements, new opportunities and new technologies emerging in audience research? Have we learnt from, and contributed to, other research disciplines? What are the most urgent needs of publishers and advertising agencies in a fast changing environment? Yes, all these things are happening around the world and we will be meeting once again in October to share our experiences and theories and to learn from each other at the 10th Worldwide Readership Research Symposium.

We are sending you this Call for Synopses as an invitation to you to contribute at the event. We will probably accept 50 to 60 papers for full presentations, and, as the demand for places at Venice is likely to be high, priority will be given to people submitting synopses. If, when you read the call prepared by our programme committee under the chairmanship of Erhard Meier, you feel you have something of importance to contribute outside the themes suggested, don’t hesitate to make a submission. The sooner you can send us your outline the better, but please note that the closing date for submissions is 17 April, 2001.

The dates for the Symposium are 22-26 October, 2001, with the Welcome Reception taking place on Sunday, 21 October; the venue is the Excelsior Hotel on the Venice Lido in Italy. Venice needs no introduction, simply to say that our timing, post-tourist influx and pre-autumn mists, means that the city and lagoon should be at their most enchanting. We will err on the generous side in allowing more delegates than usual, though we do not want to lose the intimate and participatory character of our unique event. However, early booking is advised when Sandy sends out the booking form in mid-June.

With best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Dawn Mitchell and Richard Silman

Sunday 21 – 26 October 2001
Westin Excelsior Hotel, Venice Lido

Call For Synopses


Synopses to be received at the latest by Tuesday 17 April, 2001
Papers will be invited in late May, 2001
Full papers should be submitted for final approval by Monday 3 September, 2001
Registration commences in Venice on Sunday 21 October, 2001
Working sessions Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 22 -26 October, 2001
Closing Ceremony Friday (afternoon) 26 October, 2001

Maximising Print In The Planning Process

Print is an active player in a rapidly changing media landscape. How do we meet the challenges of fragmentation, new media platforms and technologies and make sure that we maximise print in the planning process?

In Venice we will bring together thoughts, experiences and solutions from all corners of the world, in order to assess the ongoing transformation of Print and what it means for us.

For the 10th Symposium, Venezia 2001, we invite synopses for papers which illuminate the rapidly changing landscape in which the print medium finds itself.

  • What does this mean for print research? The issues of the past are still with us, but they have taken on new meanings: many have become even more salient.
  • But more importantly, what are the new issues and challenges facing us?
  • What are the hurdles, and what are the solutions, which will help Maximise Print in the Planning Process?

Contrary to some opinions, we believe that Print has not had an identity crisis. True, electronic media and the growing success of the Internet pose immense challenges, but they do not signal the end of the written word. Readers will want to read newspapers and magazines for a long while to come. The content, the format, the delivery, the context, the place and the time will all change. But technological advances in turn will create new opportunities. The written printed word will remain vital.

  • What are the experiences so far with Internet publishing?
  • What does the publisher get out of it, and what the consumer?
  • How will digital television or digital radio affect Print?
  • How can we research this, and what does it mean for our existing audience surveys?
  • What existing and new information must we provide to publishers and agencies?

Print is a remarkably resilient medium. In the face of competition, fragmentation and the electronic and mounting on-line and digital challenges, it has shown its capacity to adapt and to build on its strength. But there are consequences. The print product is not the same as it once was. The content and formats of established publications have changed, and new publications emerge to serve new audiences. Print products are also brands which lend their names to other marketable products, and they appear on different media platforms, not only as electronic newspapers or magazines on the Internet, but as television or radio programmes.

  • What are the consumers’ responses to these changes?
  • Are we able to measure them?

Readership research has to adapt too. It is now asked to define, describe and measure readership behaviour with tools which were designed for a considerably less complex media scene.

  • How does readership research adapt?
  • What are the technical and technological advances which will allow us to cope better with demand?
  • Where has CAPI and Double-Screen CAPI led us to?
  • How far can we go with CATI?
  • Where are the passive measurement tools we talked about for so many years?
  • How can we increase the list of publications on our surveys?
  • How can we reduce title confusion?
  • How can we include new categories of publications – for instance the computer press or customer magazines?
  • How can we distinguish reading events, which occurred on-line, from traditional reading? Do we want to make such a distinction?

We invite synopses stimulated by the above and similar questions, addressing the Internet, the new media landscape and the consequences. We invite, of course, synopses on our traditional subjects, which might be grouped under the following headings: how to improve the accuracy of the average-issue-readership measure we all use around the world. How to enhance it with other additional measures suitable to describe the strength of Print. How to compare print with other media. How to deal with the issue of accountability.

Under the first heading, improvement, we wish to continue to discuss the problems of the Recent Reading model, a subject which becomes even more important than it has been in the past as we realise its constraints in the face of new and flexible publishing formats of both newspapers and magazines.

  • How is Recent Reading coping?
  • Do we need to re-open the debate about its validation?
  • What about the alternatives?

Technical issues, including statistical solutions, also belong under this heading and so does the issue of the increasing difficulty of obtaining unbiased samples. The problem of response rates is one of our greatest threats to producing accurate, unbiased readership estimates.

  • What are the measures we take to maximise response rates?
  • What is the future on this issue?
  • What is new on the subject of fusion?

Under the second heading, enhancement, we wish to discuss new developments in the areas of additional measures obtained either within or separately from the surveys which provide the basic currency. Audience accumulation, quality of reading and the ways in which such information may be successfully used in practice, are examples of projects, which we wish to hear about.

Regarding inter-media comparability, we wish to see papers which demonstrate new ways of comparing Print with Broadcast and other media, ways which put the media into context and which provide planners with new tools to appreciate the power and strength of Print vis-à-vis its competitors. These papers may describe new multi-media software developments as well as new developments in single-source measurement.

Finally, we wish to include papers, which address the issues of accountability. First, accounting for advertising exposure. We welcome submissions on the effectiveness of the print medium but ask:

  • where does readership research end and advertising research begin? We also hope to debate the process of accounting for survey results.
  • Who controls the survey process? What are the roles of auditors and who controls the auditors?
  • What are the advantages and what the dangers of monopolistic surveys or of uncreative, too rigid survey procedures?
  • Do we have effective codes of conduct and do we need a code of conduct for on-line research?

As always, we hope to be able to bring together the thoughts and experiences of all sides of the industry, and from all corners of the world. If stimulated by the above, please submit your synopses in no more than 300 words, to the Secretariat by Tuesday 17th April, 2001 at the very latest.

Erhard Meier
Programme Chairman

Synopses should arrive by Tuesday 17 April, 2001

Synopses (not more than 300 words please) should be sent to the Symposium Secretariat for the attention of Sandy Burdett at:

c/o Ipsos-RSL Ltd,
Kings House, Kymberley Road,
Harrow HA1 1PT, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 8861 8030
Fax: +44 (0)20 8861 5515

to arrive no later than Tuesday 17 April, 2001. Submissions earlier than that date will be gratefully appreciated. Please note that late arrivals will not be considered.

Full Papers by Monday 3 September, 2001

Delegates who have, on the basis of their synopses, been invited to submit papers for final approval for inclusion in the Symposium programme will be asked to send them to arrive no later than 3 September, 2001. They will also be asked to preface their papers with an appropriate abstract which will enable a quick assessment of the contents and conclusions offered in the paper for the benefit of delegates who will not see the printed papers until they register in Venice.

Selected authors will be advised on the formatting of the paper in their letter of acceptance and receive guidelines as to the preferred modes of presentation methods at the Symposium.