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Websites 'increase newspaper audience by 14pc'

Seven regional newspaper publishes have signed up to a new initiative designed to show their combined print and online audience.

Locally Connected, launched yesterday by the Newspaper Society, aims to measure multimedia audiences and give advertisers a more accurate picture of the combined net reach of newspapers and their websites.

Seven of the largest local media groups, representing 70pc of the industry, are already part of Locally Connected with more expected to follow.

The groups are: Trinity Mirror, Northcliffe Media, Johnston Press, Newsquest, Guardian Media Group, Midland News Association and Iliffe News & Media.

Launching the initiative, the NS claimed it showed that local media websites increase the reach of regional and local newspapers within their circulation areas by 14pc, particularly among upmarket and core middle age groups.

“On average the research shows us that a monthly online campaign in conjunction with a single advertisement in the newspaper will increase reach by 14pc – and in some cases much more,” said Dick Dodson, managing director of Telmar Europe which developed the methodology for compiling the data.

NS president David Fordham said: “The development of a robust and reliable system of multimedia audience measurement has been one of the biggest challenges facing all media today.

“Locally Connected now gives advertisers a unique cross-media planning system, allowing them to effectively target local communities across the UK in print as well as online.”

The society’s communications director Lynne Anderson, who led the project, said: “Both buyers and sellers were agreed on the need to move away from the historic focus on a newspaper’s paid circulation and towards a more meaningful measurement of total reach.”

Richard Foan, managing director of ABCe which has independenly verified the method of data compilation, has welcomed the initiative.