Best Readership In 190-year History!

In the Bermuda advertising industry change can be subtle or dramatic. The subtlety could be a shift in an editorial style that causes more people to be engaged with the media product or repelled by it — over time readers can point to marked differences. The drama could be a media producer closing down, which causes surprise and requires the industry to recalibrate PR strategies, ad buying decisions and even consumption patterns.

That said, Bermuda does not necessarily act like international advertising markets. For example, when a major media house makes a statement about how they see their performance in the market, few react. Internationally, the same statement may be questioned and analysed. The statement may seen innocuous, but placed in context it has market impact.

The Royal Gazette’s parent company said this in its paper recently,

“Mr Thomson, BPHL’s chairman, said readership numbers for the print and online publications had never been higher in the company’s 190-year history.”

Readership.

Media buyers like to look at metrics to help client's understand if they are getting the most efficient transport of their message and have a general determinant for the size of investment that has to be placed in any publication. Readership is an important measure. However, if you are paying for ads you will undoubtably ask: what does readership mean to me?

Well, you might want to step back and ask what publication you are discussing, first. If it’s print, paid circulation is a key measure. Circulation will indicate if the publication is actually viable. If the publication is $1 and has a circulation of 30,000 homes each day, then it should have a financial base to consistently produce a quality product that readers want. And have all the systems in place to deliver an ad message to the reader that the advertiser needs.

Readers share.

If the paid print circulation cannot cover its base costs then other mechanisms have to be employed. Paid circulation readers are important — file sharing proved this. One copy of something shared with 10 people makes the creator less money, not more. One “reader” who shares their publication with an office of 10 people likely means only $1 was made, not $10. Paid readership matters because 10 people don’t always like the same thing — 5 might like sports, 2 business and all check obituaries. The publisher has to produce a buffet of stories that satisfies the interests of 10 at the price of one patron. Can a business survive on that model?

Readership matters.

But to whom? The publisher likes large readership numbers. Advertisers can kind of like large readership numbers. However, when a print edition is circulated into 30,000 homes and three people in that home read the one edition, does the value of that edition then become 90,000 readers? If so, do you want to pay for each of those 90k readers? Or would rather pay for the paid circulation that consist of each printed impression of your ad to the reader that paid for it?