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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

JICREG and NRS: Read all about it

Jim Jarrett, a business director in the intelligence team at Mindshare UK and board member of the Joint Industry Committee for Regional Media Research (JICREG), explains why the new regional press measurement deal with the National Readership Survey (NRS) will be fruitful for the industry once it finally goes live in April.

The announcement last week that the National Readership Survey (NRS) will be collecting JICREG’s readership data represents a welcome unification of press audience measurement in the UK. The reason for this is that it means that for the first time, regional press titles previously measured separately through JICREG will derive their readership estimates alongside the national press and larger consumer magazines on the NRS.

This will ensure that the readership of all types of publications are collected using the highest technical research standards. While some might say that this change is at least partly a consequence of the pressures on the press market to rationalise and another example of the consolidation that is occurring across the industry, it is a welcome step forward for those of us who want the highest standards of audience measurement.

It will have benefits for planners who want consistent standards applied across the market and provide advertisers with the confidence that the plans we create for them will deliver.

It will have benefits for planners who want consistent standards applied across the market and provide advertisers with the confidence that the plans we create for them will deliver. And while it’s questionable that this single act will reverse the decline of the commercial performance of the regional press in the face of continuing economic, technological and cultural pressures, it does address some concerns about the objectivity and fairness of current regional press audience measurement.

Until now, independent regional publishing groups and major regional titles have collected their own data through face-to-face or phone interviews. This research is funded directly by media owners and they are able to influence its timing and approach, albeit within guidelines laid down by JICREG. However, this has meant that non-researched titles have modelled readership estimates based on research that other media owners have paid for.

This new development is a sign of the industry currencies’ increasing willingness to work together to address future challenges and will make the media industry stronger as a consequence.There is still a lot to work out in the implementation and we do not expect to see the first regional estimates using the NRS until 2015. The sticking points are likely to be around the detail of modelling that will be necessary to generate readership data for regional titles out of the NRS estimates.

These may take time to resolve but these are hopefully just the details now that the big decisions have been taken. Though some may regard this change as slightly esoteric, JICREG should use it as an opportunity to shout about itself and the confidence it will offer to advertisers that the medium is willing to invest in itself during challenging times.

Jim Jarrett is a business director in the intelligence team at Mindshare UK. He represents the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) on the NRS Technical Committee and the board of JICREG.

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