NADbank transforming to address concerns

The NADbank study has been undergoing a transformation in an effort to bring more information on newspapers to the media planning and buying community. Throughout the changes, the study continues to provide statistically reliable measures on newspaper readership.

The NADbank study has been undergoing a transformation in an effort to bring more information on newspapers to the media planning and buying community. Throughout the changes, the study continues to provide statistically reliable measures on newspaper readership.

Why is the NADbank study changing?

Measuring daily newspaper readership appears on the surface to be a relatively easy task. There aren’t that many newspapers in any one market. A respondent who is asked if he saw a particular daily newspaper yesterday should have a very high probability of answering correctly. In other words, respondents should be able to provide reliable indications of their newspaper readership.

The problem lies in the context of the role of NADbank. The newspapers fund the study. The ultimate purpose is to help newspapers sell advertising. NADbank must be responsive to the needs of its newspaper clients. At the same time, the media planning and buying community had its own concerns and ideas for improvements:

1. Media planners want to have NADbank readership numbers released in the spring to coincide with their planning cycles.

2. The newspapers want NADbank to focus the product questions in areas in which newspaper advertising spending is concentrated.

3. The NADbank committee wanted to provide more up-to-date readership numbers, as well as support a more stable sampling plan.

NADbank responded with the following initiatives:

1. In 2001, NADbank streamlined the newspaper readership questionnaire and added a three-month screen-in question. If respondents indicated they did not read a particular daily newspaper within the last three months, they were not asked any further readership questions about that newspaper. The goal was to encourage respondents to complete the telephone interview.

2. In 2001, NADbank introduced a $1-million minimum newspaper annual ad spend criteria as a rule for the inclusion for a product category. This rule supports the needs of newspapers in promoting advertising within the medium.

3. In 2002, NADbank moved to a spring and fall wave-sampling frame. This approach will provide the most up-to-date newspaper readership possible. In some markets with sufficient sample size, it will be possible to provide readership estimates on a wave basis.

NADbank 2002, the full study, will be released sometime in March 2003. The study will have measurements for all participating full-sample markets based on the combination of the fieldwork in 2002 for the spring and fall waves, and a blend of 2001 data and 2002 fieldwork for half-sample markets.

NADbank will allow newspapers to sponsor special supplemental data releases in their markets where there exists sufficient sample. Just recently, for example, the Montreal newspapers agreed to fund a special data release for the Montreal market based on a blend of 2001 fieldwork and the spring 2002 wave. The goal was to provide the advertising industry with a more complete readership picture for the Montreal market.

NADbank continues to have two types of market studies. The first is the readership/product market; the second, the readership-only market. In NADbank 2002 there will be 23 readership/product markets and 23 readership-only markets. A key criterion is the sample size available in a market. Product information can only be reliably reported in markets with larger sample sizes.

In future years, we can expect an annual early spring release of NADbank data based on the previous year spring and fall waves. Thus, NADbank 2003 will be released in March 2004, and consist of the fieldwork conducted in 2003.

Richard Jean is president of Richard Jean & Associates, a Toronto-based media software consultancy. He is a veteran of the media buying, planning and research community and a member of the Canadian Advertising Research Foundation education committee. He can be reached at: rjean@ftn.net.