It now looks
like overstated circulation figures is a fairly rampant practice in
Australia’s newspaper and magazine industry. However, our modest little
ezine has been at the other end of the spectrum, arguably dramatically
understating our circulation and readership figures for most of the
past five years. This claim is based on the very interesting subscriber
survey that we did just before the handover to the new owners last
month.

The question about email on-passing produced some illuminating responses.

We
had a very good sample size of 1,149 out of 5,500 subscribers
(including the 200 life and gold members plus about 150 freebies or
contras). A total of 112 respondents or 10% admitted to on-passing that
day’s edition and 7.5% admitted to passing on every edition over the
previous week. 42% admitted to passing on at least one edition in the
previous month and only 19% said they had never done it.

However,
quite a lot of the on-passing is just of individual items to people who
might have a special interest in the topic, which is not that different
from cutting out a newspaper article and giving it to a friend.

That
said, if you’re on-passing the whole lot on a regular basis you are
breaching our copyright and probably should look at taking out a group
subscription which the new owners are offering at very competitive
prices as you can see here.
Maybe a bunch of farmers could get together and take out 50
subscriptions at just $35 a pop – a 65% discount on the standard price
of $100 for a single 12-month subscription.

Pollster Gary Morgan
has just done some survey work on Crikey’s readership but the figures
won’t be available for a couple of weeks.

However, we’ve also
got more than 11,000 “squatters” who receive about 20% of each edition
a couple of hours after you paying subscribers. With the on-passing
that goes on, it would be fair to say each edition probably finishes up
in about 20,000 inboxes each day.

Then you have the readership
of the website which in the first quarter of 2005 attracted monthly
page impressions of about 1.4 million and 550,000 visits. What
proportion of the 20,000 daily visitors to the site would also be the
recipients of the Crikey Daily email? Hard to say, but more than half
would be a pretty safe bet.

Therefore, it would not be
stretching it to estimate that 30,000 people are reading something from
Crikey on a typical working day. They’re pretty strong numbers but it
would be interesting to drill down into some of the definitions as
claimed internet traffic figures are also fudged by some of the players.

I suspect that Crikey is actually better read than a magazine such as The Bulletin but this is hard to prove. If you know of any dodgy readership claims in the internet space, email [email protected] and let’s have that debate as well.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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