Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) has dismissed the Zimbabwe All-Media Products Survey (Zamps) results released on Tuesday and reiterated its stance that audited circulation figures should be the basis upon which the media industry should be evaluated.
Report by Staff Reporter
Trevor Ncube, AMH chairman, in a statement said the Zamps figures were not “just disputable, but mythical” in their quest to portray the state of the readership of media products in the country.
AMH publishes NewsDay, The Standard and the Zimbabwe Independent.
The media group last year announced its decision to pull out of Zamps because of the study’s faulty sampling, poor methodology and unscientific questionnaire.
“We pulled out when it became obvious that there is a cartel in the Zimbabwean market that is not interested in international best practice, but in maintaining the fiction around readership claims,” Ncube said in a statement released on Thursday.
He reiterated AMH’s call for the introduction of audited circulation as the only transparent and consistent measure of newspaper circulation and readership.
Ncube said: “AMH is not the only one challenging the veracity of the survey, but readers have recently come out to analyse the fictitious figures that are being carelessly dumped onto the market by Zamps.
“Readers can follow this link, Herald Online to see what readers of the Herald feel about the results of the survey relative to what they know to be the reality on the ground.”
Ncube said the same public that the research purported to have spoken to was disputing the numbers.
“Results of poorly executed media surveys have over the years also failed to influence advertisers’ regard of media products. Advertisers place their adverts where they see value,” he said.
“For the survey to opine that vernacular newspaper Kwayedza has more readers than the Standard is ludicrous. When was the last time you bought a copy of Kwayedza? No advertiser can be fooled by this chicanery.”
He said advertisers in this country know the difference between circulation and readership. Circulation is simply the number of papers actually sold on an average day, both through subscriptions and newsstand sales.
A newspaper’s readership, on the other hand, is almost always a higher number, since it’s the newspaper’s total circulation multiplied by the average number of people who read each copy. The pass-on rate for newspapers in this country has never been clearly defined by the surveys.
“Thus, results of the survey have not in any way tallied with major changes in our circulation figures even in instances when there has been a 100% increase in circulation, as is the case with The Standard.
“How does Zamps claim that little weeklies whose circulation is barely 5 000 have a higher readership than titles printing 30 000 copies?” he asked.
Zamps also claims that online readership has declined and yet scientific data available from Google Analytics, a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visits to a website, confirms the massive growth of AMH’s online properties and most websites in the country.
“We want to restate our position that order should be restored in the media and audited circulation figures should be the basis upon which the media industry sells advertising space. To ensure transparency and accountability, print runs, sales and returns must be subjected to an independent ABC audit,” Ncube said.
AMH last year embarked on a process of audited circulation with numbers for NewsDay freely circulated to the public. The audited figures proved beyond any shadow of doubt that NewsDay was the biggest daily in Zimbabwe.