Survey comes of age

From its early beginnings, the PMB Print Measurement Bureau study has grown into a recognized single-source media and product survey.The survey began in 1973 measuring 20 national magazines and a few product categories. It now measures 73 publications, exposure to other...

From its early beginnings, the PMB Print Measurement Bureau study has grown into a recognized single-source media and product survey.

The survey began in 1973 measuring 20 national magazines and a few product categories. It now measures 73 publications, exposure to other media and more than 1,100 products and services.

Landmarks in the study’s development include the move to annual studies in 1983, the addition of brand measurement in 1984, the inclusion of business publications in 1985, and the extension of psychographic or lifestyle clusters in 1986.

These are just a few of the visible changes.

Rigorous specifications

Technically, the pmb study has complex and rigorous specifications. And it is subjected to continuous scrutiny by the PMB Research Committee, through exposure at the Worldwide Readership Research Symposia and through independent audits when circumstance demands.

pmb has maintained overall response rates of 65% in each of its studies over a 20-year period, despite a general downward trend in the industry.

pmb is a fully tripartite organization run by publishers, agencies and advertisers.

Unlike other industry studies, pmb allows access to its data by other (in this case, non-print) media. Effective use of the data is made by newspapers, broadcasters and the outdoor industry.

Integrity

This independence, established by its advertising agency founders in 1972, provides its users the assurance of integrity in its results.

The democratic nature of the organization was demonstrated last year when, after four years’ development, a proposal was brought forward which would have seen a change of the readership measurement technique that had been in place since 1973.

This step proved to be too radical, with a narrow majority of the members believing that, despite cost and other perceived benefits, the potential risks were too great.

The debate, nonetheless, helped focus the discussion on areas which needed to be addressed. As a result, the pmb study sample size has been increased by 28% in 1992, with particular emphasis on upper income strata.

The pay-off will be more robust readership estimates in future studies, with special benefits to smaller, regional and business publications.

These benefits will be seen first in PMB ’93, and fully in PMB ’94, which will be based on 20,000 personal interviews across Canada.

In another development, a working group was established by the pmb board, under the chairmanship of Steve Ferley of the Wool Bureau of Canada, to review the business/affluent marketplace.

This proposal has received support from the industry, and the study is on-track for fieldwork in 1993.

With its coverage of business and affluent publications, it will provide marketers of upmarket products and services, such as Bank of Montreal, American Express and others with information on the media habits, product use and lifestyles of affluent and influential Canadians.

In accordance with pmb’s strategic objectives, 1993 will see the bureau taking a more aggressive marketing stance, with greater focus on new business activity to ensure that it can provide an improved level of service, and products which add value to the planning process.

This will build on the extra marketing efforts in Quebec during the last two years, the move to fully bilingual pmb reporting with PMB ’90 and the appointment of pmb’s Quebec marketing representative, Francois Vary.

pmb is reviewing its education policy, to determine how it can help its members make better use of the data. The PMB Glossary of Print Research Terms was a first step in that direction.

pmb will also be conducting in-depth reviews of the means by which members obtain access to the data, either directly, or through our licensees, to speed delivery and make the results more quickly and easily accessible.

John Chaplin is president of the Toronto-based PMB Print Measurement Bureau.