The Missing Piece

The publisher of a major daily has established a direct line of communication with a selected sample of its newsstand readers so it can obtain regular feedback on a variety of topics, including editorial content and advertising/propensity to purchase certain products. The publication had previously established means to determine its subscribers' views. However, since the daily has a high ratio of newsstand purchases to subscriptions, it was missing critical data. How could the publisher possibly reach a cross-section of its occasional customers consistently and economically?

The Beta Approach

While a one-time study might have provided some of the information the publisher and its advertisers needed, Beta recommended a panel study to provide more detailed – and continuous – information. The daily's publisher wanted to be sure to capture changing opinions and shifts in editorial interest among its readership, in addition to providing its advertisers with valuable information on purchasing patterns and trends. Beta recruited a qualified panel with representatives from several demographics important to the daily's business. When a research question emerged, panelists were contacted for telephone, mail or online surveys, depending on the specific issue. Occasionally, a subset of the panel was consulted, particularly when previous research showed that a certain demographic was more likely to use a product or service. Commitment and participation were both high, and panelists received small rewards for their participation.


The panel's feedback has informed several strategic decisions. It has also helped to engage advertisers more deeply and permit the publisher to offer greater value for each advertising dollar.


Industry: Print Media

Methodology: Panel – online, telephone and mail