This could be heaven: how to measure media in a fragmented universe

John Faasse
Kobalt Media Knowledge Center, Netherlands

THE CHALLENGE

Media research is on a dark desert highway. The number of available media is increasing, consumer use of media is fragmenting, and media plans are fragmenting too.

Even today, the number of magazines in our National Readership Surveys is only a fraction of the total number of magazines. The number of channels which are reported on in our People Meter Panels is only a portion of all available digital channels. As readers and viewers become dispersed, audience figures drop. Therefore it becomes increasingly difficult to make a reliable measurement of the audience for a medium, let alone of the number of people who get to see or hear an advertising message.

To make things worse, we know for a fact that most of the methods we use for audience measurement are inherently flawed. Average Issue Readership, Page-views, Visibility Adjusted Traffic Counts, Radio Diaries and People Meter data do not tell the (whole) truth. And yet, enormous amounts of money, time and effort have been invested in increasing the validity of readership and viewer data.