HomeLocal NewsZamps results blight market — AMH

Zamps results blight market — AMH

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Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) yesterday said the Zimbabwe All- Media Products Survey (Zamps) third quarter readership survey that has seen different papers claiming to be the best on the market had once again shown the need to have accountable and audit-based surveys.

Zamps, whose credibility took a battering in September after it released controversial results of its second quarter survey, unveiled the third quarter results on Tuesday, triggering wild claims from some newspapers.

Ever since its inception 14 years ago, Zamps’ results have been mired in so much controversy they have never received unanimous approval from stakeholders.
Alpha Media Holdings, publishers of the daily NewsDay and two weeklies, Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard newspapers, yesterday said the conflicting reaction to the survey had once again confirmed the controversy and questions surrounding the credibility of the exercise.

As has become the norm after the event, this week’s Zamps results saw incredibly wild and varied readership and circulation claims from various players.

Trevor Ncube, the AMH chairman, said the circus that had become the norm in the wake of each publication of Zamps results had vindicated the group’s decision to quit the process and pursue a more accountable, audit-based process.

“All this (confusion, controversy and conflict) is unhelpful to the advertisers and the industry in general and we at Alpha Media Holdings (Private) Limited (AMH) have decided that we will not be party to a process that we believe is severely flawed,” Ncube said in a statement yesterday.

He said it was the practice the world over that single copy sales were the basis upon which the media industry sold advertising space and, to ensure transparency and accountability, print runs, sales and returns were subjected to an independent audit.

“This is international best practice that builds trust between the publishing industry and other stakeholders,” Ncube said.

AMH has embarked on a process of audited circulation with the first numbers for NewsDay released to the industry three months ago.
Ncube said the audited numbers had proved beyond any doubt that NewsDay was the biggest daily in Zimbabwe.

“We have challenged the rest of the industry to follow suit with audited circulation, but there is a pushback,” he said.

“This is understandable as the current opaque and questionable system has benefited many players for a long time.

“But this self-serving system must not be allowed to continue.

“We are, however, heartened that there is now a consensus building and the broader industry is slowly but surely embracing the need for verifiable and audited circulation in an increasingly competitive space.”

Until that happened, he said, AMH would continue to invest in independent reader research that would be available for advertisers and the industry to evaluate.

Ncube said a research company commissioned by AMH was currently in the field carrying out independent readership research on all the company’s titles.

The findings, he said, would be supported by audited circulation figures and shared with the market.

“We will continue to provide the industry with independently audited print runs, circulation statistics and returns.

“What the advertiser wants to know is how many people are buying papers and not some mythical claims of readership.

“Transparency and accountability are key to us gaining the trust of all our stakeholders.”

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