Royal Mail and Whistl are to join forces with the DMA, IPA and ISBA to launch a new scheme to measure the daily readership and usage of direct mail by UK consumers, similar to the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) programme for magazine readership.
The launch of the Joint Industry Committee (JIC) has been backed by the Strategic Mailing Partnership (SMP), the body which has already made great strides in bringing together the postal market’s main rivals for the benefit of the industry.
Mail is the UK’s only mass media channel without an independent and industry standard audience measurement body. This presents real challenges when mail competes for budget against other forms of advertising, such as television, radio and newspapers.
A pilot research programme has run for the past year, which has demonstrated some of the positive results it is hoped the JIC’s work will continue to produce. It showed that 75% of mail delivered to homes in the UK is opened and read, that mail is shared and passed on and then re-read on average seven times.
The SMP – which was established in 2008 to represent and protect the interests of mailing houses across the UK – believes the JIC is a significant step forward for the industry, with co-operation among key players and the prospect of research verifying, as the initial figures suggest, the good value of mail campaigns for customers.
SMP chair Judith Donovan said: “We welcome this cross-industry initiative and support its aims to help everyone involved in mail create new and sustainable growth for future campaigns.
“We know that mail campaigns have a hugely positive impact for customers but agree that having recognised and respected measurements for their impact and success will transform the way the medium is viewed and sold.”
MC&C chief executive Mike Colling, who will chair the JIC steering committee, added: “Circa £2bn is spent on mail in the UK each year. This initiative is a unique co-operation between all the major players in the mail value chain, and is endorsed and supported by all the major UK trade bodies. This is a unique opportunity for all of us who are involved in creating value from mail to co-operate to create new growth for all.”
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