Earlier this week StopPress published a story on the Q1 readership and circulation statistics for the nation's newspapers. While the circulation figures sourced from ABC's website and the majority of the readership figures were all accurate, the readership figures attributed to some of the provincial papers served up a series of anomalies that didn't seem to correlate with statistics from previous surveys.
This data was sourced in-house from Nielsen's database and it is available to media buyers subscribed to Nielsen's services. A Nielsen representative confirmed their accuracy at the time, but Nielsen informed us the statistics were inaccurate and asked us to remove all references to the provincial papers. Given they came from Nielsen's own database, we asked why those figures weren't able to be published and whether the quarterly fluctuations were due to the small sample size and we received the following response from associate director Yvette Basson:
Regional newspapers are released in specifically designed and regionally weighted databases for the purposes of understanding reach within those regional areas, and for understanding shifts in regional audiences once again, within each region, from year to year. These databases are only available twice per year and are used for providing industry currency data for the regional newspapers. This approach provides a more precise measure within any of the measured regions for these newspapers, where there are typically smaller samples. The result is less fluctuation in readership results due to sampling variation over time because more factors are controlled.
Regional newspaper figures are however made available within the national database for the purposes of planning of national campaigns and understanding total reach across the country for example to ascertain reach for a multi-newspaper buy to target household shoppers New Zealand wide."
For the sake of accuracy, we have updated the previous article by removing any references to the provincial figures.