Lisa Snedeker writes in MediaLife about newspaper audience metrics and near the end hits on a key point:
… the other problem newspapers face is coming up with a metric to replace circulation that combines print and online readership in a manner that advertisers can understand and work with.
That raises fundamental questions. Is the online visitor of the same value as the print reader?
One approach has been to weight a month of web traffic to a week’s worth of print circulation, according to Philip Meyer, the Knight chair of Journalism at the University of North Carolina and author of “The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age.”
But Meyer sees this as an apple-and-oranges formula. “I don’t see any logical reason to do it that way.”
Meo agrees that comparing the past seven days in print to the past 30-day internet traffic is goofy. “You wouldnâ€™t do that with any other media,” he says. “We think comparing the past seven days’ print audience to the past seven days internet audience makes sense.”
The visited-in-last-30 day metric makes no sense to me. It never has. It tells you nothing about an engaged, loyal audience.