ComBase National Study – Frequently Asked Questions

Now that the national study has started, with nearly 300 participating newspapers supporting it, many questions have arisen from publishers. We have tried to address them below.

Who is conducting the survey??

Thompson Lightstone of Toronto is doing our study. They are one of Canada’s most respected market research companies with considerable expertise in measuring readership. They have interviewing offices in Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton.

When does the interviewing start and end?

┬À Our earliest markets began in mid-October with new markets being added as publishers return their Market Definition Information. Despite when the interviewing starts this fall, all market data will be released at the same time in early fall 2003.
┬À Interviewing for all markets will be conducted from this fall until the end of May 2003, with perhaps some spillover into June 2003.

Why does it take so long to do the interviews?

This is the world-wide norm for readership studies. The reasons are:
┬á┬á┬á┬À To ensure a true picture of readership over time, smoothing out any highs and lows
┬á┬á┬á┬À To get those hard-to-find respondents who are generally more desirable target groups. We call a qualified household many times at different times of the day, and different days of the week to avoid a skewed sample.
┬á┬á┬á┬À To control our interviews for day of week. This is needed to make sure we get the most accurate daily newspaper readership data.
┬á┬á┬á┬À To smooth the workload for the supplier, thereby making the study less expensive to our members
┬á┬á┬á┬À To recontact initial refusers. In order for the ComBase interviews to reflect the composition of the market, we have to get males and females, young and old, affluent and poor in the proportions specified by Statscan. That means going after respondents that are more reluctant.

When can I get the data for my market?

┬À Even though interviews in your area may have begun way back in October, we have to wait until ALL markets are done before we begin processing the data.
┬À That means no readership information will be ready until the fall of this year.

Who will benefit from this study?

┬À Many parties will derive benefit from this survey. The intention of ComBase was to satisfy the most pressing need that media planners and buyers identified to us three years ÔÇô a national readership study for community newspapers, similar to those that exist for the other media and conducted by an independent body. ComBase will help these planners evaluate community newspapers against television, radio, dailies, magazines, etc. Our intention was to help generate more national advertising for our members.

┬À Each participating newspaper will benefit from being on the ÔÇÿlistÔÇÖ of options available to media planners when they are deciding which medium to use. Participating newspapers will also be able to use the data at the local level to sell against competitors there. Editorial staff may use the information to find out whoÔÇÖs reading and whoÔÇÖs not and whether theyÔÇÖre reading something else.

┬À ComBase is committed to helping participants make the most out of their data by providing training and workshops.

What do I get at the end of the study?

Please refer to your Newspaper Agreement for a description of the deliverables and benefits of participating in the study.

Who will get access to the study?

┬À Advertising agencies and advertisers who subscribe to one of the two official media planning software packages (IMS and Harris) will be offered access.

┬À Participating (paying) newspapers will also have complete access to all the d