The genuine article? readership measurement and the internet in great britain

What ‘readership’ are readership surveys such as the British National Readership Survey (NRS) measuring? If the advertiser wants to plan with confidence then they need to be assured that when planning a campaign, the readership they are basing their plans on is unambiguous. But what if it’s not? With increased usage of the Internet you need not read an article directly from a publication but via its web site or e-publication. The NRS continues to measure the readership of the printed form but how should it adapt to the changing nature of readership? Inspired by concerns within the NRS, and further prompted by two papers presented at the 2003 Worldwide Readership Research Symposium, the British NRS is currently exploring the extent to which respondents are including online reading within their reading claims by asking two experimental questions about their reading behaviour to readers of 12 specially selected titles. This paper examines the results of this experiment and discusses their implications for the future of the survey.

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