Wednesday, December 5, 2007

MRI Uses RFID Chips for Mag Measurement

MRI Uses RFID Chips for Mag Measurement
by Erik Sass

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING--WELL, JUST Mediamark Research and Intelligence, actually. The magazine audience measurement firm is partnering with DJG Marketing's Waiting Room Subscription Services to put radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in magazines in waiting rooms to determine just how many customers actually read them.

MRI has been testing RFID technology in-house for over a year, but the DJG-WRSS partnership marks the first external study using MRI's Passive Print Monitoring System. RFID microchips are small, passive transponders remotely powered by radio frequencies, allowing detection and measurement of movement.

The study seeks to determine whether RFID tech can accurately measure time spent with a specific magazine issue and the number of individual readings. It may even allow MRI to measure exposure to a specific ad page in the magazine. DJG wants to recruit publisher support for the test.

The new measurement initiative may help resolve a controversial issue in magazine ad sales: Should free or discounted copies distributed in public places count as quality circulation? Often dismissed as "junk circ" used to inflate publishers' figures, proponents argue that these magazines have value that can be measured in terms of reach and frequency, akin to booming place-based video media.

In this vein, Marc Passarelli, president of WRSS and chief operating officer of DJG Marketing, remarked: "Public place distribution is an important source of targeted readership generation for magazines and provides a defined competitive environment for sampling multiple titles."

In August 2006, Time Inc. and Mediaedge:cia released a study which found that over 80% of waiting-room readers act on ad or editorial content they see in magazines there. The Internet study tracked readership of six different magazines in a sample population of about 5,000 people, focusing on Entertainment Weekly, In Style, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Parenting and People. The study also found 85% said they "didn't mind waiting if magazines were available," while 97% thought "waiting rooms should provide things to read while you wait."

Other big players have also experimented with new electronic measurement techniques for magazine readership. In June 2006, Time Inc. Jane Bailey, vice president of corporate marketing information for Time, Inc., and Roberta McConochie, director of PPM client relations for Arbitron, reported the results of a joint study using PPM technology to measure magazine readership. Based on the physical dynamics of magazine reading, the studies revealed large increases in both the number of interactions and overall time spent reading magazines, compared to self-recorded diaries.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Who's Reading Magazines?

Who's Reading Magazines?
Inside MRI's Fall 2007 Report.
People magazine gets around.

According to the latest report from Mediamark Research Intelligence (MRI), each copy of People is read by a median of 11.34 readers. With an audience size of 42.4 million and a circulation of 3.7 million, People dominates in readership against its top four competitors: Star ranks second in terms of readers per copy (6.95); Us Weekly is close by with 6.74 readers per copy; Entertainment Weekly (5.79) and In Touch (5.65) round out the category.

Surprisingly, readers of Esquire-which distinguishes itself in its online media kit by touting "while other men's magazines are written for highly aspirational readers, Esquire is geared towards men who have arrived"-have the lowest median household income for adults ($53,783) among five of its top competitors. (To be fair, Esquire's readership has seen a marked increase in affluence since 2002, when it had a median income of $42,602). Men's Journal leads the pack with a median of $77,063, followed by Men's Health ($76,865), GQ ($68,746), Men's Fitness ($68,486) and Maxim ($65,614). Esquire's readers are also the oldest of the group, with a median age of 43.9 years. Maxim is on the low end, with a median age of 28.4 for adults.

Male vs. Female

In terms of sex, Esquire appeals to the highest percentage of women (33.8 percent) while Maxim-top in both circ and audience size-has a female readership of 23 percent.

As another example, 30 percent of Scientific American's readers are female versus Popular Science's 14.9 percent, while PopSci has 3 million more readers than SciAm, with a circ of 1.3 million versus SciAm's 574,000.

Women's magazines tend to have less crossover. Just 6.5 percent of Glamour magazine readers are male, versus Vogue's 13 percent, while Glamour's circ and audience size remains higher by one and two million, respectively. In terms of readership, Glamour (12.5 million) and Vogue (10.8 million) are both higher than Redbook (9.8 million) and Seventeen (8.7 million). Allure (5.9 million) has a leg up on Marie Claire (3.5 million) in the readership category.

In the battle over the sports reader, Sports Illustrated's audience of nearly 21 million tops ESPN the Magazine's 13.7 million. The age gap between readers has grown larger since last year, as the median age of ESPN readers has dropped from 33.1 to 31.8 while the median age of SI readers has climbed slightly from 38.4 to 39.1.

This year's MRI results also support the point made by airline magazine marketers that in-flights have a notably affluent readership. Comparing the six top in-flight magazines, the median yearly household income for adult readers ranges from United's Hemispheres ($123,234) to Continental ($88,831).

Martha vs. Oprah

The affluence of Oprah and Martha Stewart's readers is nearly identical, with median income separated by less than $1,000 (Martha's $68,914 versus Oprah's $68,294), but Oprah continues to prevail in audience size. O, The Oprah Magazine's audience is at more than 16 million-a four percent increase from last year's results-versus Martha's almost 12 million-a one percent increase.

Magazine Readers Per Copy (Adults)
National Geographic 19.60
AARP The Magazine 18.13
Reader's Digest 17.19
Better Homes & Gardens 15.80
People 15.71

Magazine Median Household Income
Atlantic Monthly $123,234.00
Barron's $121,832.00
Inc. $115,595.00
Veranda $111,126.00
Golfweek $109,304.00