Nielsen launches ‘Rolls Royce of measurement systems’, publishers smack lips with excitement—UPDATED

It was announced in September last year that Nielsen had been chosen as the preferred research supplier for the print/publishing industry until 2016 after a big global hunt for the best contender was undertaken by the snappily titled Print Media Industry Research Review Group. At the time, chairman Derek Lindsay said Nielsen’s newly pimped out Consumer and Media Insights (CMI) package would provide a big fillip for the publishing industry because it drilled down so much deeper into the data. And at the launch of the ‘new Nielsen’ yesterday, it became apparent how this “360 degree view of the media consumer” would benefit marketers, agencies and media owners. 

The new CMI service has been almost three years in the making and has involved plenty of research into what was needed, plenty of meetings and plenty of spare time being sucked up, so while the terms exciting and research are rarely found cavorting together, there was some understandable excitement from the main protagonists about the launch of the newly ‘future proofed’ system and what it might mean for the balance sheets of the publishers.

The main area of excitement for the industry—and Nielsen—seems to be in the use of more qualitative measures to show how people get involved in certain titles. It wasn’t enough just to have bog standard readership numbers anymore. So, rather than saying x number of people read x magazine, 25 new media engagement tools now on offer will allow publishers to find out, for example, how long readers keep their magazines, how they feel about a certain title when they read it and how that might impact on their buying behaviour.

It also hopes to offer more specific information about readers (for example, not just how many might be planning a trip, but what kind and how long, or what are their preferred stores). Understandably, this kind of information is gold dust for the sales departments in an era of intense media competition and many of the big publishers have already schooled up their sales teams on how to use the data effectively.

Nielsen will continue to run its readership survey, which probes 12,000 people (it intends to transition away from face to face and towards completely online data capture by 2015), but it now claims to offer the elusive ‘fusion’, with one database made up of five main data sets, including Statistics New Zealand’s household expenditure survey and Nielsen’s television ratings currency, which will take into account time-shifted viewing and ondemand viewing in the future.

Nielsen’s online measurement is also due for a spruce up, and client services director Kate Terry says focusing more on how people spend their time while online is “a step change”. It will also offer combined print and online readership measures.

Gary Yeo, senior vice president of Scarborough Research, managed to strike fear into the hearts of the newspaper publishers present at the breakfast during his speech by showing the rapid decline of the US newspaper industry (from 2005 to 2010, revenue has gone from $48 billion to $22 billion and at this stage only a small amount of that lost revenue is being transferred online) and the vicious cycle of cost-cutting that’s taking place now and, im his view, eroding the quality of the medium.

He was particularly complimentary of Nielsen’s new in-depth measurement system, which he believes is among the best he’s seen anywhere in the world, and is far more advanced than what his own company offers in the US. And while all these new measures seem good in theory, the proof will presumably be in the pudding in June when it goes to market.


Everyone loves reading about research on a Monday morning. So if you want to find out even more about Nielsen’s new approach and what’s happening in the US print market at present, download the CMI presentations from Kate Terry and Gary Meo here.

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