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Pass on readership and the new media business?

In the publishing industry, magazines and newspapers use this thing called “pass on readership” to identify the perceived number of times a single copy of their publication is ready by different eyes. This is usually determined by random phone interviews, survey questions and household demographics such as looking at the average size of a Filipino family and multiplying the circulation data by that number. In reality of course, a publication doesn’t meet that requirement as it is common practice (doesn’t mean its good practice) for sales teams to pad circulation data based on their own fixations with their perceived audiences.

Does the same thing apply with online publications such as blogs? Server side statistics such as AW Stats bring about a “happy number” to bloggers whereas when they start checking their Google Analytics data, it may seem that they undercount.

Do the two concepts co-relate from an infrastructure point of view (“perceived” or really … “biased” versus “actual” views). Actually if you think about it, I could also say that pass on readership could loosely co-relate to the number of comments I get per post as this is a way of measuring a conversation. But then again, do you actually count comments that say “yeah i agree with what you say” as a quality comment? What about subscribers?

I think that in totality, companies are embracing Internet publishing because they are recommended by trusted companies that are into this thing as well. For instance, I was talking to Jonas over at the Happy Slip event at mag:net and he was telling me how some companies want to embrace these “new forms” of media through Yehey!. It’s companies like Yehey! and (at this moment I can’t name more) that act as bridges to new media advertising as they’ve been around and are seen as trusted entities in mainstream Internet marketing.

So yeah, maybe it really isn’t just about the pageviews – perceived or real. It’s about including new media as part of the total marketing strategy. As for the stats, we’ll get there. 🙂

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast and sitting Techbology Editor for The Philippine STAR.

He is also an EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

8 replies on “Pass on readership and the new media business?”


Just wanted to comment on pass-on readership. It’s something that should be left out of media kits since this sort of information is taken from inhouse surveys and can never be verified.

For print or online, I would think third party audit or research is still the way to go. However, only big name companies can afford such.

Maybe a movement for ad agencies to shoulder the audit costs is in order?

you strike a good point. pass on readership is a marketing strategy for the most part really. big titles will proudly post their actual circulation data but smaller ones won’t. some like Hinge-Inquirer will go the niche route and say that even if they are printing less than the competitor, there is a higher conversion rate for advertisers because they get more discerning readers who can afford.

P.S. I’ve been following your blog because I enjoy your insights about the publishing industry — especially your take on Playboy PH. 🙂

there is a third party survey conducted called Synnovate that’s pretty accurate. it is sponsored by publishers as well. 🙂

thanks, haven’t posted anything about it again because there are so many changes. want to make sure before i post again 😛

blogging is actually a disease at the office. when you work with the likes of marc, rico, mikey, and jozzua, you are sucked in. lol.

My experience with online advertisers are different. When we talk of “reach”, I always refer to absolute uniques per month multiplied by the average time spent.

I think gone are the days when its measured by pageviews. RSS subscription plus absolute monthjly uniques will give a clearer picture of a blog’s reach.

We go back to readership surveys, like Synnovate (sponsored by the industry on the whole). In order to temper results from web statistics – which can be bloated.

For certain publications, specially business ones, there is a pass on readership specially if corporations subscribed to the paper or publication.

In terms of RSS unless there is specificity in terms of subscription it is prone to similar errors seen in stats. It can be bloated and abused -right now there are some individuals who sell RSS subscribers for a fee. And to be frank the number of readers displayed on a web site is more of a marketing instrument used to promote the blog and ego boosting.

I guess that is the advantage of those who blog for other reasons other than for profit. Nothing wrong with profit but it is not the end all and be all of blogging. And the same goes with SEO.

Just my thought.

an offshoot of the topic:

at this point stats (whatever form) and “perception” are the only things that we can work on. My guess is that new media is still at a near maturing stage where its “legitimacy” still has to be accepted by companies in general, because it is a “new concept” that they still need to digest. Change is the hardest thing to swallow. But as a marketing strategy, whether they get it or not, there is no doubt that they need to test the waters, so to speak. At the very least, they should try it and see if something happens, pass-on readerships issues aside.

I think it boils down to the ROI or bottom line of the advertiser. If they get back from increased sales what they spent for advertising, then it’s a good deal. Large sites like Inquirer sell tons of ads on a CPM basis not because they have the volume. It’s because the ads eventually resulted to better sales. That’s it.

If at the end of an ad campaign, the advertisers see no added value (or that the added value is insignificant), they will just stop advertising altogether.

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