The ComBase pilot study – the first step in the principal readership research conducted on behalf of the community newspaper industry in Canada – has been delayed for one week.

Originally scheduled to begin Sept. 11, the pilot study will now commence Sept. 18.

ComBase project manager Elena Dunn said the delay was caused by issues surrounding market definition.

“Just when you think youÔÇÖve got it resolved, another newspaperÔÇÖs six-digit postal code distribution file arrives and you have to start all over again,” said Dunn. “Until we had the identities and distribution lists for all the member newspapers and their competitors, we could not define our markets. The problem was particularly thorny in Red Deer and Toronto. Each newspaper has its own area that it services and all these individual geographies had to be considered before we could decide how to sample all the communities that make up these cities.

“Originally, we believed we would have enough completed interviews to do the extended market area of Toronto. We had to modify our expectations in order to remain in budget. We hoped they were logical, but just to make sure we ran them by our Tri-Partite Committee and, in particular, with the media planners on the committee. Fortunately, we learned that these submarkets make sense for both our members and for the media buying community. Each newspaper in these areas will have a minimum of 75 completed interviews each, allowing for solid readership information as well as a male/female split. In order to ensure this, and even allowing for duplication in readership between newspapers, we found that we needed to bump up the sample in Toronto from 2,500 to 3,000,” she said.

Ninety-two newspapers will be measured in Toronto and information about each needed to be gathered, checked and double-checked before we could start.

It is not anticipated that the weekÔÇÖs delay in interviewing will delay the back-end of the study ÔÇô we should still have the data out to the advertising community in early spring 2002.