What the world needs now

One of the more disappointing facts in a media researcher’s life is the knowledge that after so many years of relentless effort we still have not come up with the perfect solution for measuring the number of readers of a print publication. What the recent reading methodology delivers us is still not the average of the measured number of readers of the issues of a publication. 22 years of readership symposia have merely given us the certainty that what we are measuring is wrong. (Neil Shepherd-Smith, Symposium 1993). And even that conclusion cannot be taken for granted. Our main ‘ambition’ now is to be equally wrong for each and every publication in our surveys. How wrong are we? Over the years we have been trying to validate our readership measurements by looking at circulation figures. Though many countries now work with an Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), even a well-defined and independently-monitored circulation figure still leaves publishers room for manoeuvre (Jane Perry, Symposium 1995).

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