accounting for what we are doing: recent reading revisited

There have been numerous papers and discussions on recent reading (RR) and its accuracy during the past years. This comes as no surprise. It is a method used in over 90% of NRS’s throughout the world. At the same time it is the method with the greatest number of critics and possibly the greatest number of known model biases. I will not discuss those in my paper, as there is even a song about it. We know of telescoping, replicated readership, parallel readership and RQP ratio, all of them producing over- or under-estimations of AIR. A lot of effort was placed in the various ways of enhancing the method, yet it is obvious that none of them can eliminate the majority of the bias that occurs while estimating AIR with RR. Many analyses have shown that the RR method overestimates the AIR, although in some cases underestimation can also occur. Ron Carpenter (1999) has shown that there is an average overestimation of 33% to 50% for women’s weeklies and women’s monthlies respectively according to FRY and circulation methods (primary household copy). Therefore there is no doubt that RR overestimates the AIR, however at the same time we know it remains the method that offers us the best compromise between feasibility, cost and usability. TTB is not really feasible, FRY is too expensive and lacks usability (duplication data), FRIPI is just a modification of RR and Frequency of reading also suffers from overestimating. The question that arises is whether there is really nothing we can do about it?

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