Friday, May 25, 2007

BoSacks Speaks Out: MRI Audience Numbers

BoSacks Speaks Out: OK, Call me a skeptic, call me a curmudgeon, you can even call me a dinosaur, but don't call me a believer in the lost city of Atlantis or absurdly grotesque phantom circulation figures. Even if it's true that that the statistics say that Handgun Magazine gets 47.1 readers per copy, it ain't so. That is more than one new person reading each printed copy every day of the month. Are these office copies left in some doctor's office? Perhaps they are from the firing range. I get it, it's the guys sitting around the 'ol cracker barrel sharing their single copy of the magazine. Sorry, I just don't buy the premise.

"I'm not going to lie. . . The only stat that counts is if you win games. I understand that, but still, I don't want my stats to look bad or not be up to par."
Michael Vick

First Half 2007 MRI Audience Numbers Released

By Bill Mickey

Small-circ enthusiast magazines have astonishing reader-per-copy rates.

Top-line spring readership data detailing circulation, audience and readers per copy for 254 titles for the first half of 2007 were released yesterday by media and consumer research firm Mediamark Research Inc. (MRI). The data presents an interesting opportunity to examine the relationships of these numbers. For example, according to MRI's data, there is a huge disparity between readers per copy figures for small enthusiast magazines and large mass-market titles.

The widest stretch from circulation to readers per copy, according to MRI, belongs to Handguns, which has a circulation of 114,000 and an astonishing 47.15 readers per copy, bringing total audience to 5.4 million. And, in general, the smaller enthusiast publications dominate in readers per copy, with the top ten titles in this category below 300,000 circulation.

But MRI arrives at the reader per copy category by dividing audience figures, which MRI generates, into circulation figures, which ABC or BPA provide. "We're pulling the audience [data] from our own study. We're pulling the circulation from either ABC or BPA, and we're dividing the readers that we obtain from our survey by the claimed circulation," says Julian Baim, chief research officer at MRI. "Handguns, for whatever reason, that number is on the exceptionally high side. We measure audience and then we take the circulation statement from either ABC or BPA and we take one and divide by the other."

Baim says that MRI measures audience by surveying consumers across a number of factors, including subscribers, single-copy purchasers, pass-along readers and public-place readers.

The figures in the report do not include electronic or digital copies of the magazines as reported on ABC statements. And Circulation figures are based on ABC and BPA publishers' statements.

Also interesting to note: AARP The Magazine, the largest circulation magazine in the U.S. at 23,171,000, has an audience of 31.5 million. Yet Meredith's Better Homes and Gardens, at a 7.7 million circulation, has an audience of 38 million. This is because AARP is almost flat in their readers per copy category at 1.36, according to MRI figures, while Better Homes and Gardens has almost 5 readers per copy.

In a separate release, AARP The Magazine compared its 31.5 million audience reach to YouTube (30 million U.S. audience), iPods (30 million units sold) and The Oprah Winfrey Show (30 million viewers).

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