Ncube calls for circulation audit

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Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) Chairman Trevor Ncube yesterday called on media stakeholders to advocate for audited circulation figures so that advertisers are not short-changed.

Ncube said the figures released by the Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey (Zamps) were inaccurate and misled advertisers.

“We know how many copies Daily News is printing. They are printing between 13 000 and 18 000, and we are printing 50 000 and selling between 43 000 and 47 000,” Ncube said.

“This is where we have a problem with Zamps. We know what our competition is doing, but Zamps completely distorts the picture. As an industry together with advertisers and advertising agencies, we should advocate for audited circulation information. Misrepresenting circulation figures is defrauding advertisers.”

His call came amid revelations by a Probe Market Research survey, commissioned by AMH, that NewsDay has become the largest and most popular daily newspaper in the country, with more than 1 million readers daily.

The survey revealed two out of three readers of daily newspapers prefer the country’s leading daily newspaper, NewsDay.

Probe Market Research managing director Gardiner Mwakonya said the survey had a 95% confidence ratio with a margin of error of 5%. The firm’s credibility is confirmed by its engagement by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation to conduct international surveys about business perceptions of the investment climate in Zimbabwe.

Similar surveys, commissioned by the World Bank, have been implemented in more than 125 countries around the globe, and their aim is to generate microeconomic information which the World Bank uses to identify projects and development policies.

Mwakonya said yesterday the survey sample which covered 1 100 people was highly accurate with a 95% confidence ratio and 5% margin of error which drops to about 3% in small towns like Masvingo and Mutare.

“At commencement of the media research for the daily papers in August, we had several newspapers – The Mail, Chronicle, NewsDay, Herald, H-Metro and Daily News.

“We covered major urban areas. The sample size was 1 100, and we covered both male and female on a 50-50 split.

“Those covered were 18 years and above, and we looked at income bands like low, middle and high. We also tested the ratings of all newspapers, such as classifieds. The data was weighed to represent the economic areas of the country. Most of the outcomes are based on the perceptions of the individuals, for example about value for money,” Mwakonya said.

NewsDay’s dominant position in the market was also confirmed by findings of a circulation audit by international audit firm Baker Tilly Gwatidzo, which put the paper’s average daily print run at 50 564 copies.

“We confirm that based on our audit, during the month of August 2011, the average daily production of NewsDay was 50 564 copies whereas the average daily sales was 43 170 copies,” Baker Tilly Gwatidzo said yesterday.