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Demi Abiola 

PAMCo: why are we not using it more?

PAMCo: why are we not using it more?

The industry should challenge itself to break away from old habits and unlock the full potential of the new publisher currency, writes Demi Abiola

It would be fair to say that publishers have faced challenging times over the last few years.

Whether it be through declining circulations, monetising online content or inventory effectively, or the deliberation over whether to use a paywall or not. A digital ecosystem ruled by the few that does not reward the advertising served in quality, attentive, brand safe news environments has caused much consternation.

The sum of this is pressure on revenues and profitability, although there is wide diversification across many publishers now as they seek alternative streams of income from their traditional routes.

PAMCo launched in April 2018 and for the first time it gave agencies the ability to view de-duplicated reach and frequency of audience delivery across all publisher platforms, outlining clearly what print, mobile, table and desktop platforms all add to a schedule.

The platform also has the capacity to be flexible as a response to the evolution of published content, accommodating new titles and multiple platforms, enabling it to keep pace with digital developments and changing consumer habits.

The National Readership Survey (NRS) was the staple industry currency for many years, reporting readership figures for newspapers and magazines which in today's published media world, was not fit for purpose.

Technological developments have forced rapid change and newspapers’ and magazines’ journalistic output is now aired on whichever platform people want to read it on – access to their content has never been easier.

And measuring it across these multiple platforms has become of paramount importance in order to reinforce and validate newsbrand and magazine publishers’ strengths.

Since launch, PAMCo has further enriched and added depth to its survey results by now including engagement and attitudinal data, additional lifestyle data and the ability to view year-on-year trends.

This new published media currency offers greater visibility to both publishers and advertisers, rightfully giving the industry renewed confidence in its ability to deliver attractive audiences efficiently and in the right environment.

So why is it not being used more? The industry should challenge itself to break away from old habits and unlock the full potential of this new currency, primarily by stopping using it like NRS data has been historically.

PAMCo provides more diverse ways to use supporting data than NRS ever did. There are three challenges that I believe publishing industry needs to overcome to help agencies to do this.

Firstly, Publishers need to be clear about how they differentiate their inventory. Whether it be for performance marketing in the programmatic space, contrasting with high impact brand campaign. And further developing online formats that are closely aligned to this. The metric for these cross-platform campaigns would be the reach and frequency provided by PAMCo.

Secondly, publishers should consider how the medium is planned and bought. The published media industry continues to post record audiences with the latest PAMCo data showing 94% of the GB 15+ population consume published media (49.8 million people) which is a higher reach figure than the likes of Facebook 78% (41.3 Million people) or Google 77% (41.2 million).

The narrative, however, sometimes depicts a more negative outlook, when the opposite is in fact true.

Finally, look at costing and commercial models to incentivise agencies to try new planning approaches including offering effectiveness insight to innovative advertisers and agencies who are willing to explore these new approaches.

With tablet and phone data available to plan and buy for the first time, there is huge potential value to be unlocked. And even though the challenges are complex, the prize in terms of innovation and effectiveness for clients means that the effort is worth making.

In summary, there is a robust world class audience measurement system in PAMCo, in a time where audience transparency is becoming ever more important. You only have to look at the current minefield in the digital ecosystem. Published media can boast a modern day fit-for-purpose system that can measure audience’s across different publisher platforms.

However, it is important that there is a shift away from the historic usage of NRS, and that we embrace its evolution and find ways to innovate for the benefit of clients, publishers and agencies.

Demi Abiola is publishing director at PHD Media

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