October 07, 2010 10:15 ET

GfK MRI Will Measure All Forms of Magazine Reading in 2011

Magazine Audience Ratings Will Encompass Print, All Digital Platforms

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 7, 2010) -  Following nearly a year of testing, beginning in 2011 GfK MRI will implement a change in its in-person, in-home consumer surveys so that it can measure the readership of printed magazines as well as magazine readership on every type of digital platform.

Since 1979, GfK MRI has measured the readership of printed versions of magazines via continuous in-person, in-home surveys of adults ages 18 and older. The company's data are the currency for print advertising planning in the United States. However, as magazine readership continues to migrate to various digital platforms and devices -- among them Web sites, eReaders, mobile phone apps and tablets -- GfK MRI has decided to make a fundamental change to its survey questionnaire.

"Now is the time to transition our in-home surveys to deliver comprehensive multi-platform measurement of print brands," said Dr. Julian Baim, EVP/Chief Research Officer of GfK MRI. "This represents a significant change in the way our survey questionnaire is worded, and the result will be a much clearer picture of how consumers are reading magazines today and well into the future."

To prepare for the transition, GfK MRI undertook two phases of testing. A series of tests were conducted in late 2009 evaluating several ways to ask consumers about their magazine media reading. In 2010, GfK MRI conducted a large-scale pilot test to evaluate how survey respondents understood and responded to the chosen descriptions of all versions of magazines, print and digital. The test involved 500 people who were shown the newly worded in-home questionnaire and a control group of 500 people who were shown the existing GfK MRI in-home survey.

"It may sound like a straightforward exercise, but when you consider the speed at which digital platforms are proliferating, it's easy for consumers to get confused when they are asked to explain how they read magazines," said Baim. "For example, some people read digital reproductions of magazines, some read text-only versions, and others use magazine apps designed for mobile devices. Magazine publishers deserve to get full credit for the totality of their titles' readership, regardless of how that readership takes place. Our ultimate goal is, and has always been, to measure magazine readership with the highest degree of precision."

A related benefit of the survey changes will be the availability of in-depth demographic, attitudinal and behavioral data about magazine readers who use digital platforms. For instance, although magazine publishers with Web sites have site-centric data about online readership, they don't collect the wide range of information and insights about consumers that GfK MRI garners via its in-home interviews. 

Beginning in 2011, GfK MRI will also measure readership of national newspapers across all digital platforms.

About GfK MRI

GfK MRI has a singular goal: to provide the clearest and most detailed view of American consumers -- who they are, what they buy, how they think, and the best ways to reach them. Founded in 1979, GfK MRI is the country's leading provider of magazine audience ratings, multimedia research data and penetrating insights into consumers' behavior and motivations.

When conducting its national Survey of the American Consumer™, GfK MRI interviews approximately 26,000 U.S. adults in their homes each year, asking about their use of media, their consumption of more than 6,000 products in 550 categories, their lifestyles and their attitudes. Because these interviews are structured as an area probability study, the results are projectable to the entire U.S. adult population. The Survey also serves as a foundation for an array of innovative GfK MRI research products that answer the market's need for granular, cross-media and consumer-focused information. 

GfK MRI is part of The GfK Group, based in Nuremberg, Germany. The Group delivers a range of information and consultancy services in three business sectors: Custom Research, Retail and Technology and Media. It is the No. 4 market research organization worldwide, operates in more than 100 countries and employs over 10,000 staff, more than 80% of whom are based outside of Germany.

For further information on GfK MRI, visit our Web site: And, join us on Facebook ( and Twitter (

Contact Information

    Anne Marie Kelly
    SVP, Marketing and Strategic Planning
    GfK MRI
    Email Contact

    Steve Ellwanger
    Press Counsel Group
    Email Contact


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