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New PAMS research aims to get closer to the truth

The first PAMS (Publisher Audience Measurement Survey) reading research is due for release in October 2017. Conducted by The Publisher Research Council (PRC), it will provide media owners, agencies and marketers with an accurate new reading currency in South Africa for the first time in 40 years.

 The PRC refer to their research as Reading Research, not the traditional Readership Research. “The difference is subtle, yet crucial,” says Peter Langschmidt, Research Consultant to the PRC. Reading is more behavioural, it is platform agnostic and covers all forms of reading on screens and paper – unlike readership which was ink on fingers.”

“AMPS provided us with very ‘enthusiastic’ readership figures,” continues Langschmidt, “Although we do not know what the new PAMS methodology will deliver, it has been designed to address the high Readers per Copy (RPC) figures that were in AMPS. The PRC and its members are fully aware that ‘readership’ figures may show a decline but, whatever the new data reflects, it will be a more accurate reflection of the truth.”

The PRC members and publishers have embraced the need to move away from solely measuring exposure to paper, towards measuring reading on every platform; paper, tablets, phones, computers, even PDF documents, etc. “We will offer agencies and clients audiences to each platforms individually and an unduplicated aggregated audience,” he says.

PAMS results will be fused with the Establishment Survey (ES) which in turn is linked to TAMS and RAMS. This will provide media planers with the ability to compare different media platforms and channels, for example Huisgenoot audiences with radio broadcaster 94.7 Highveld. “As such, by the end of the year we will have what we previously had in AMPS, it will just be conducted in four discrete surveys that are combined after the fact, which is in line with global best practice.”

Nielsen, PRC’s research partner, scoured the world for innovative “Gold Standard” Reader Audience Measurement, and the PAMS questionnaire uses input from The Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia. “We have also made changes that maximize the advantages of tablet interviews and address the uniquely South African heterogeneous readers,” explains Langschmidt.

In order to provide quality data to inform effective advertising investment, the sample is designed around the reader universe, which upweights urban areas and down weights rural ones. This top 60% of the market accounts for over 85% of consumer and advertising spend.

PAMS will be introducing a world first reading research flooding methodology. The sample will comprise of 10 000 core face-to-face interviews supplemented by 10,000 “flooded” interviews with other household members. This combined sample of 20 000, will be larger than the AMPS reader sample. “This is no mean feat,” says Pula Mmesi, researcher at the PRC, “since our member’s revenue is declining but we are able to give advertisers a bigger sample size!”

“It’s not just all about the numbers when planning an advertising campaign.  It’s the ability of the written word, on any platform, to deliver a quality reader and the ability for said reader to recall what’s been read and advertised,” concludes Langschmidt.

The PAMS currency measures will be combined with four other studies that the PRC are conducting this year, which will ensure the most complete measurement of reader audiences, across all platforms, to inform effective advertising investment.

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