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Barry McIlheney 

Launch of NRS PADD is welcomed with open arms

Barry McIlheney, chief executive, PPA, on why the release of NRS PADD marks a historic moment for the industry...

Once upon a time magazine publishing used to be a fairly straightforward business. You recruited the best and the brightest in your particular field, crafted a product, put it on the newsstands, and tried your very best to create a more compelling offering than those of your competitors.

Today the fundamentals of creating a great product may remain unchanged, but the delivery method has now dramatically changed thanks to the increased number of platforms consumers can now use for their content consumption.

An abundance of opportunity does, of course, come with a number of challenges as well. And one that publishers have been grappling with in particular in the last decade is how to measure total audience reach across all of these exciting new channels of delivery.

The date of September 12 is therefore a major milestone in resolving this challenge, this being the day when NRS launches its first-ever set of Print and Digital Data (PADD).

Long considered the gold standard for print audience readership, the NRS will now join a growing number of industry currencies taking on the challenge of measuring a brand's footprint across multiple platforms.

For the first time publishers will now be able to show their combined reach across both web and print, and in so doing dispel the myth that publishers are steadily losing readers. On the contrary, they are now reaching more readers on more platforms than ever before.

Measurement of web audiences is nothing new, of course, but up until now publishers had a figure for print, a separate figure for web audiences, and no way to calculate their total unduplicated reach across both platforms.

This is the exact area in which the true value of NRS PADD will really come to the fore by providing a single base print readership data, website audience data, and all the NRS demographic and classification data.

It will allow users to, among other things, see the unduplicated reach of print publications and websites, the incremental reach provided by websites, the websites that readers of print titles visit and vice versa, and the comparative audience profile for print titles and websites.

In addition to monthly reach, PADD will also show weekly and daily reach for websites. It will also show pageviews and dwell time, the latter providing a useful adjunct to the NRS Time Spent Reading data for print.

From an advertiser point of view, PADD also heralds a departure from traditional linear channel planning. Surveys such as TouchPoints have made great strides in providing advertisers with the ability to plan across multiple platforms, but NRS PADD will evolve this ability yet further by providing quarterly data updates, making it the pre-eminent and most contemporary multi-platform planning tool available to all.

NRS PADD is thus one of the most significant developments in the rich 50-year history of the NRS. Its true value and significance, however, is perhaps best reflected by the fact that this project has been supported so enthusiastically by newspaper publishers, magazine publishers, and advertisers alike. A historic moment indeed!

MediaTel subscribers will be able to access the new NRS PADD data within the Press database on 12 September.


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