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PamCo audience measurement looks to solidify publishers’ place on brands media plans

PamCo was drawn up following intensive industry consultation

The Published Audience Measurement Company (PamCo), which has replaced the National Readership Survey (NRS), has launched a fresh measurement system offering up more granular insights to advertisers.

Taking into account newsbrands and magazines, the system was designed with getting brands to funnel spend back into newspapers and magazines in mind.

Dubbed Audience Measurement for Publishers, the updated data currency will, unlike NRS, allow advertisers to see audience reach across all platforms including phone, tablet, desktop and print. Aviva’s Jan Gooding, chair of PamCo said it offered “greater visibility and accountability” for media agencies, brands and publishers.

Its launch comes against the backdrop of Facebook's Cambridge Analytica woes and increased consumer skepticism of digital platforms.

The Edelman trust Barometer recently placed UK confidence in the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at just 24%, and PamCo has spotted an opportune moment to “reset” the joint industry currency (JIC).

According to eMarketer, Google and Facebook alone accounted for 54% of the UK’s digital ad market in 2017. Whether PamCo can help counter that growth by funneling money back into publishers' pockets remains to be seen. However, the AA and Warc have anticipated that expenditure in national newsbrands will increase in 2018 to the tune of 7.5%, despite an overall spending dip in the medium poised to come in at -6.2%.

PamCo was drawn up following intensive industry consultation. The dataset combines 35,000 face-to-face interviews with “passive digital measurement” of an online audience of around 5000. Comscore and Ipsos Mori are involved the collection process, which claims to give a single de-duplicated view across all platforms.

During a press event marking the launch of the JIC, Group M’s UK chief executive Tom George said this single point of view was welcomed from an agency perspective amid the challenges buyers and advertisers face in a in a “fragmented, walled garden world,” – particularly those presented by Facebook and Google.

“Anything that helps us to help brands give a single view of the customer and audience, we have to welcome… We’re having debates at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (Barb) about trying to get robust and independent measurement across the whole of the sector. We’ve always called Barb the ‘gold standard’ but PamCo is the ‘gold standard’ for the publishing sector.”

Meanwhile, Chris Forrester, chief revenue officer at the Telegraph said the introduction of Audience Measurement for Publishers was an opportunity to “redefine” conversations around newsbrand’s audiences at a planner level, and Time Ink’s chief executive and Professional Publishers Associatio (PPA) chairman Marcus Rich said too from a planning perspective it would help brands get “more bang for their buck.”

“What we’re looking at is how we can use the data to shift the buying model from one that’s effectively become about trading on one platform to actually planning across all platforms and using it as a tool to evaluate the power of that advertising, rather than as a commoditised source through a circulation number.”

Group M’s George also enthused about move away from the short-termism the new measurement potentially presents for agencies.

““What’s happened over the past five to 10 years is there’s been a real focus on short term performance– we’re all guilty of that. Our advertisers are, agencies, media owners as well. I detect there’s some element of resetting looking at long term branding and long-term impact of branding, and something like this – which puts the emphasis back on brands and advertisers and a trusted and independent sector has to be welcomed.”

The fresh system has provoked a warm response from advertisers with Pete Markey, TSB’S chief marketing officer telling The Drum that the brand sees real value in working with other media owners like the Guardian and Trinity Mirror, and as such the new offering looks “very interesting”.

“Given the opportunity to potentially better reach a highly engaged and loyal audience and I do think that this new mechanism will make these types of media more appealing and rightly so,” he added.

Phil Smith, who chairs the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (Isba) said members had shown a strong demand for an independent joined up measurement system.

“This is required across all media channels and its very positive to see the publishers commitment to addressing this,” he said.

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