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2005 Readership Institute Study

2005 Readership Institute Study - READERSHIP INSTITUTE...

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R EADERSHIP I NSTITUTE Media Management Center at Northwestern University Page 1 of 13 © 2005 Readership Institute Updated April 2005 Understanding and Calculating Reader Behavior Scores For more information: Todd McCauley Mary Nesbitt, 847-467-4285, [email protected] Introduction: Why measure RBS? What newspapers want and need to do is to change the way people read the newspaper -- to induce people to read more often, to spend more time with the newspaper, to read more parts of it, on weekdays and on Sundays. It's all about changing reader behavior. The first step to changing those behaviors is measuring them in greater detail. The Readership Institute, as part of its Impact study of readership, developed (and tested with 37,000 consumers in 100 U.S. markets) a short series of questions that drive to the dimensions of frequency, time and completeness of reading. With this information, newspapers can calculate a “Reader Behavior Score” (RBS) for the overall newspaper, individual sections, and different demographic groups. Having established a baseline measure, newspapers can track progress over time by measuring RBS periodically – seeing, for instance, whether content initiatives are intensifying the reading behaviors of the target groups. Measuring RBS has great value to individual newspapers. Additionally, in the long-term, it will be possible to establish industry norms, so that newspaper can not only track their own progress, but see how they are doing compared to the industry, other newspapers in similar markets and newspapers of similar circulation size. The questions can easily be added to newspapers’ current readership survey repertoire. The questions (see below) measure time, frequency, and completeness of reading, during the week and on Sundays. Using the instructions below, responses to these questions can be combined into one RBS score for each respondent. On a 1-7 scale, an RBS of 1 represents someone who rarely or never looks into the newspaper, while an RBS of 7 depicts a person who spends a great deal of time reading most of the paper, every day of the week.
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The RBS approach captures important dimensions of newspaper usage that other measures do not. There are precedents for incorporating frequency and time; completeness offers another important dimension in characterizing reading behavior. Consider two people who both read a newspaper every day and for the same amount of time. One skims the entire newspaper, reading headlines and the first few paragraphs of each story. The other reads a few stories, start to finish, from some parts of the paper. Their use of the paper is qualitatively different on the dimension of completeness. Standards for conducting RBS research
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