Re: ‘Traditional media companies beware,’ says Ipsos-Reid study

Inter@ctive Reid Report data conflicts with PMB results, says PMB executive VP and research director.

The Jan 23rd issue of Media in Canada included a news brief on the Inter@ctive Reid Report. The conclusion of the article was that companies need to understand and deal with how the Internet affects their business. Without disputing that conclusion, PMB has comments on the figures that were quoted as evidence regarding the readership of magazines. According to the article, the Inter @ctive Reid report found that 40% of online Canadians do not read magazines.

However, those data conflict with PMB results. Using the ‘past week’ Internet usage definition, PMB results show that 68% of Internet users have read a magazine in the past week, 84% in the past month and 91% in the past three months. Each of those levels is higher than the figure for the average Canadian. PMB offers several different definitions of Internet users, including heavy users, light users and recent users. The same results are found for these different definitions. Further, whatever definition is used, PMB data show that Internet users read more magazines per month (between 5.4 and 5.7) than the average Canadian (5.3 issues).

The PMB study is the accepted Canadian media industry measurement for magazine reading activity. It is based on a rigorous methodology using a probability sample and face-to-face interviewing in the home with over 12,000 Canadians every year. The survey methodology is entirely transparent and overseen by a tripartite industry committee to ensure that the magazine reading data present a true picture of the reading habits of Canadians from all walks of life in their true proportions. This includes Canadians who access and use the Internet to varying levels.

It is not for PMB to speculate on why the figures quoted by Mr. Laver and sourced from an Ipsos Reid survey of 2,644 Canadians are so dramatically different from the industry accepted data. However, we were struck by the fact that an advertisement beside the article led readers to an Ipsos Reid panel recruiting website. Media researchers in the advertising industry are becoming increasingly aware of the challenges and inaccuracies of predicting media habits using recruited Internet panelists.

One final point: In the article, Mr. Laver suggests that younger Canadians aged 18-34 are watching less television. That may be so for TV, but PMB’s trend data on magazine reading show this age group read more magazines – about 10% higher than the average Canadian.