Introduction and Overview

  • 1. What is PAMCo – Audience Measurement for Publishers?

    PAMCo - Audience Measurement for Publishers is the audience measurement currency for published media. It produces de-duplicated brand reach estimates allowing users to carry out reach & frequency planning and also plan and trade audiences across all the platforms on which published media content is delivered – phone, tablet, desktop and print.

  • 2. How does PAMCo measure published media audiences?

    PAMCo’s methodology integrates digital audience estimates supplied by Ipsos iris with print readership and demographic data from a high-quality survey of 22,000 participants per year.

    PAMCO’s method for collecting the print readership estimates is known as ‘online first’. It is a two-phase method:

    It starts with a postal phase - sampled addresses are mailed and up to two household members are invited to complete an online (or paper) self-completion questionnaire.
    This is followed by a field stage when non-responsive households are visited in-person by Ipsos to encourage completion, which can be by self-completion online, by self-completion of a paper questionnaire or by an interview conducted by the interviewer.

    Tests showed in-person visits to non-responsive households are essential to obtain a representative sample. Around half the completed questionnaires come from this field phase, having achieved half at the postal phase.

    Participant incentives are offered to encourage completion.

    The majority of the self-completion questionnaires are completed online. It is important to offer an alternative for those who are not willing or able to complete online, particularly as this group will contain a disproportionate number of readers for certain types of publication. The alternative offered is a paper self-completion questionnaire, or alternatively a CAPI interview at the field stage.

  • 3. How can I access PAMCo data?

    You can access PAMCo data in 3 different ways:

    Topline audience estimates are available through the PAMCo subscriber website
    More detailed analysis can be carried out through computer planning bureaux, such as Kantar Media, Nielsen IMS, Telmar, as well as Mediatel and Touchpoints.
    There is also an opportunity to obtain direct access to respondent-level data to feed into publisher and agency proprietary tools.

    For details on how to subscribe to PAMCo data, please see questions 43 & 44.

PAMCo: the latest Joint Industry Currency

  • 4. What is PAMCo Ltd?

    The Publishers Audience Measurement Company (PAMCo) is the governing body which oversees audience measurement for the published media industry.

    Our funding stakeholders are Newsworks (representing Newsbrands), Professional Publishers Association (PPA - Magazine Media) and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA - Advertising Agencies). The Board also has representation from The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA).

    PAMCo Ltd is responsible for the Joint Industry Currency (JIC) called PAMCo (Audience Measurement for Publishers) in place of NRS data.

  • 5. What is a JIC?

    Joint Industry Currencies (JICs) are owned by the industry - advertisers, agencies and media owners - to provide transparent and objective audience measurement for each medium. These data are produced and sold at cost, providing both industry accountability and a robust trading currency for each medium.

  • 6. What has happened to NRS?

    NRS Ltd handed responsibility for governance to PAMCo Ltd, from January 2016.

  • 7. What is the difference between PAMCo & ABC?

    PAMCo provides “estimates” of “audiences” to be used for reach and frequency planning, and includes full demographic profiling of who readers are. ABC is the “count” of number of “copies/editions” sold/opened which can be used in planning and trading and offers media owners an independent check of internal reporting systems.

How it all works

  • 8. Why does the PAMCo questionnaire use a brand-first approach?

    To reflect the reality that many readers now read across both print and digital platforms and so a questionnaire which focuses on print reading and asks about digital reading separately is no longer appropriate. To reduce the potential for confusion between print and digital reading (and possible over-claims for print). To collect claimed readership data for all publisher brands which is then used to provide ‘links’ for the fusion with Ipsos iris digital audience estimates. Claimed digital reading is very different from Ipsos iris estimates, and usually lower, not least because participants will not usually remember all the sites they have visited. There is no intention of publishing the claimed digital behaviour, but it helps to have these data in the background for the data integration process.

  • 9. Why is PAMCo incorporating Ipsos iris digital estimates?

    PAMCo incorporates Ipsos iris estimates for digital platforms, rather than issue its own estimates because Published media wish to have a level playing field with all other digital brands in the market. Buyers have told PAMCo this is critical to enable like for like comparisons and it would be unhelpful for PAMCo to release a different and conflicting set of numbers to those issued by the UKOM approved supplier and de facto industry currency.

    For information on Ipsos Iris methodology for measuring digital audiences please contact Tasneem Ali on tasneem.ali@ipsos.com or Jing Yeow on jing.yeow@ipsos.com

  • 10. How does the data integration work?

    In essence, data integration (also known as fusion) transfers audience estimates based on participants in one dataset to participants in another dataset so that there is a combined dataset that represents the data contained in both, as well as the relationships between variables from different datasets.

    In order to do this, the fusion finds the best possible matches between participants in the two datasets in respect of their demographics and behaviour.

    For more information on the fusion between PAMCo and Ipsos iris click here.

  • 11. Are the PAMCo digital audience estimates the same as those Ipsos iris publish?

    The data integration procedure is designed to match Ipsos iris published estimates as closely as possible.

    Users will, however, notice some differences. Ipsos must align the Ipsos iris and PAMCo universes, as there are some differences (notably that Ipsos iris includes Northern Ireland). While the PAMCo survey data is completely preserved by the fusion process, the Ipsos iris data is slightly distorted but is almost always within +/-5% of the original GB part of the currency at the Total Digital level for monthly audiences.

    The profile of the monthly digital audiences will match the Ipsos iris data in respect of age band, gender and grouped regions but will not match for other variables, as demographic data from the Ipsos iris data has been replaced with the demographic data of the fused PAMCo survey participants. As most variables present in the two datasets will not have been exactly matched at the most detailed level, differences in profile will be observed.

  • 12. What minimum sample do my entities have to reach to be measured and published?

    Click here to see the PAMCo Measurement criteria.


    Click here to see the PAMCo Publication rules.

  • 13. Why did the PAMCo method change in 2020?

    The disruption caused by Covid from March 2020 onwards made it necessary to evolve the PAMCo methodology. Even before Covid struck there were plans to take a small proportion of interviews online in 2021 (as a follow-up to improve response) and to test taking a larger portion of interviews online via an ‘online first’ mixed methodology.

    As a response to restrictions on face-to-face interviewing following the onset of the Covid pandemic in March 2020, plans to test ‘online first’ were accelerated. What followed was an intensive period of testing in 2020. 12 separate tests were conducted, culminating in a large ‘live’ test which started in September 2020 and was completed, post lockdown, in April and May 2021.

    The new method was approved by the PAMCo Board, with the advice of the PAMCo Technical Group, as “the best possible in the circumstances”. Now restrictions on face-to-face interviewing have been lifted, the option of a face-to-face interview is also available in many cases. However the new method remains primarily online self-completion.

  • 14. What are the main differences between the new method and the pre Covid method?

    There are major differences in both interview mode and sample. The interview mode is self-completion, completed either online or using a paper self-completion questionnaire. Previously the interview was conducted in-home face-to-face by an Ipsos interviewer.

    Around 60% of interviews are completed online. The remainder are CAPI interviews conducted by an interviewer or paper self-completion questionnaires. There are different rules as to who can be interviewed than was the case with pre-Covid PAMCo. Previously specific households were sampled, and then specific individuals aged 15+ within the household, with no substitutions allowed. For the new method specific households are sampled in a similar way, but the invitation is for up to two household members to take part, without restriction as to who they are, other than that they are aged 15 or over.

    Response rates are different to the previous method, both overall and by particular demographics. This has implications for the readership data obtained and is discussed more in response to the next question.

  • 15. What are the implications of a primarily self-completion methodology for the data collected?

    The effects for the data collected are as follows:  

    • As participants go through the questionnaire themselves, they are more likely to identify the full range of titles they read, including infrequently read titles. 
    • However, the self-completion method is more prone to title confusion, particularly for certain types of publication, especially those with generic sounding names.  
    • It is not possible to collect all data in full using a paper questionnaire.  For instance, it is not possible to ask source of copy and attitude statement data for individual brands.  This is collected generically for types of publication and then allocated to titles with average issue readership claims.   
    • Inevitably, not all questions will be answered in the paper questionnaire.  
    • It is particularly challenging to collect the information required for allocating social grade via a self-completion questionnaire.  Detailed social grade classification requires a sequence of questions which it is much easier for interviewers to administer, and interviewers receive special training how to elicit the information required.  Inevitably there will be some gaps in the information collected by the new method either because participants are unwilling to give it, or because it is not possible to anticipate follow-up questions required.  Full social grade information is not available for about 13% of the weighted population.  This gap has been filled by a modelling process based on other information given in the interview.    
    • A considerable focus of the development testing was in improving questionnaire design to minimise the impact of the issues above, particularly in respect of the paper self-completion questionnaire.  
  • 16. Why have a paper self-completion questionnaire? Wouldn’t it be better to use only online self -completion?

    Although over 90% of the population use the internet, not everyone is able to, and there are also some users who would not be comfortable completing a detailed questionnaire online.

  • 17. Why mail invitations to take part to the postal addresses rather than using email addresses?

    It is important that households are sampled in such a way as to ensure everyone has the chance to be selected and the sample is therefore representative of the whole population. Using the postal address file to select addresses is the best way of doing this. There isn’t an equivalent comprehensive database of email addresses to use for sampling purposes. Where email databases exist they will be incomplete, get out-of-date quickly and be subject to GDPR restrictions.

  • 18. How do you encourage participants to take part? What are the incentives?

    Participants are offered an incentive for completing a questionnaire. This is given in the form of an Amazon or Love2Shop voucher (the latter can be used in numerous high street stores). Alternatively, the participant can opt to donate the sum to a choice of three charities.

    The previous PAMCo method did offer incentives in London and the South-East where it was more challenging to get response, but not elsewhere in the country. With the switch to a self-completion methodology, it is necessary to offer incentives throughout the country.

  • 19. What happens if there is another lockdown?

    It is not possible to carry out the field stage (i.e., the in-person visits to non-responsive households) if lockdown restrictions are in place. For this reason if restrictions are imposed fieldwork must be suspended in the affected area.

    If the restrictions are in a very specific area this should not interrupt reporting and the sample in that area will be re-scheduled for when restrictions are lifted. More widespread restrictions are likely to affect the reporting of fresh print data. The digital audience estimates are unaffected.

  • 20. Can I compare the pre-Covid data with data from the new method?

    No. The differences in sample and method mean that it is not possible to make a like-for-like comparison or look at trends between the two.

  • 21. What are the implications for social grade of the online first methodology?

    The new method makes it more challenging to get those in DE social grades to take part, and has brought other changes to the sample profile before weighting is applied, including an increased proportion of C1s.

    It is also worth noting the challenge of collecting the information required for allocating social grade via a self-completion questionnaire. Interviewers are trained to elicit the detailed information required. Full social grade information is not available for about 11% of the sample and 13% of the weighted population. A predictive CHAID model has been used to assign social grade where it is missing. The CHAID model is informed by other information given in the interview such as Chief Income Earner income, working status, terminal education age, household tenure etc.

  • 22. Why did PAMCo decide to move to a two-year reporting database?

    Long before the Covid situation PAMCo had decided to move to a two-year reporting database based on a sample of 44,000 from January 2021 onwards.  This replaces the previous one-year database of 36,000.

    • To save on fieldwork costs as 22,000 interviews rather than 36,000 would be required per year.  Fieldwork accounts for the majority of PAMCO’s costs.
    • Moving to 44,000 sample two-year database gives a larger reporting sample for small brands relative to the previous 36,000 sample one year database.
    • The change was in the context of a shifting focus, with a changing balance between print and digital readership in many cases.
  • 23. Cautionary note on print readership estimates

    PAMCo changed methodology to ‘online first’ in Q.4 2020. The decision to change the methodology arose from a need to adapt to Covid times (which meant it was no longer possible to rely on face-to-face interviewing in home) and to ensure that the measurement solution for print remains future facing, flexible and efficient as digital growth continues.

    As expected, when there is a major change in methodology there will also be a step change in the readership estimates. The ‘online-first’ approach brought considerable change to both the sample and interviewing mode compared to the previous in-home face-to-face method. More information about the methodology change can be found in the FAQs (13-15).

    As a generalisation, most print titles measured by PAMCo recorded higher print readerships using the new ‘online first’ method, despite declining circulations. PAMCo’s digital estimates have not been impacted. The change to the print estimates was an anticipated outcome from the methodological changes and given the research challenges faced one that was supported by both the PAMCo Board and Technical Group as best possible readership estimates in the circumstances.

    Higher print readership has resulted in higher readers-per-copy (RPC) estimates for most paid-for titles, however the degree of increase in RPC for a number of news and magazine titles has raised some questions. For more information on RPC and reasons for variation in RPC click here.

    The PAMCo Technical Group is currently investigating several options to see if improvements to the measurement can be made. These include a review of survey prompts and questions for all titles, to emphasise further that participants are being asked about PRINTED copies. A test of changes to the readership question for weekday newspapers is also being considered. An increasing proportion of interviewer administered interviews (as an alternative to self-completion) may also help.

What’s included in the dataset?

  • 24. What is the PAMCo universe?

    PAMCo represents a universe of adults aged 15+, living in Great Britain. The weighted universe is 54,040,000 adults in 2022.

  • 25. Which platforms are reported?





  • 26. What is Total Brand Reach?

    Total Brand Reach (TBR) is a measure of the reach of all related content for each publisher brand.

    TBR definitions can include print entities measured on the PAMCo survey and the relevant digital entities supplied by Ipsos iris.

    For more information on Total Brand Reach click here.

  • 27. What are aggregated entities?

    Aggregated entities are groups of brands that are normally planned and sold as a package. PAMCo has provided audience estimates for aggregated titles for many years. Going forward it is expected that publishers either individually or collectively will create more aggregated entities which they would like to produce cross platform estimates for. This is a trend across the wider media market, and is welcomed by agency and advertiser customers who often wish to plan and trade audiences in this way.

    PAMCo currently reports aggregated entity estimates for The National, Big City & The Ozone Project

    For rules about inclusion of aggregated entities in PAMCo please click here.

  • 28. Is reading via apps included, and, if so, how?

    PAMCo includes reading via apps. Publisher apps that meet Ipsos iris minimum reporting sample sizes are included in the PAMCo database

  • 29. Does PAMCo include separate estimates for third party platforms such as FBIA, Google AMP, Snapchat and Apple News?

    Ipsos iris can include measurements for some of these platforms, currently FBIA, Google AMP and Apple News. Depending on platform, this may require publishers to make the necessary arrangements with Ipsos and have appropriate tagging in place. Traffic via these platforms will be included in their overall digital estimates within PAMCo. Breaking out distributed content estimates within the PAMCo dataset will be possible only if the relevant publishers agree to make the breakdown public in the Ipsos iris dataset.

  • 30. How are page views calculated for apps and distributed content in the PAMCo dataset?

    ‘Page views’ is one of the standard metrics that PAMCo has been incorporating for digital entities. However, since the launch of PAMCo, we have been assigning page views to any digital apps reported by PAMCo based on duration, as there are no page views for mobile apps in the UKOM endorsed data (currently Ipsos iris, previously Comscore). This has been necessary in order to:

    • Make digital apps available for R&F planning (as the algorithm works with page views for digital entities)
    • Ensure that there is no audience reach without page views in the PAMCo database
      The formula being used for apps is an allowance of one page view per 30 seconds duration (i.e. 2 page views per minute).

    As Ipsos iris allows to break out audiences of distributed content but does not report page views for these entities, it has been necessary to allocate page views to distributed content (currently Apple News only) since Ipsos iris become the source of PAMCo’s digital estimates. During the Bridge period page views were allocated to distributed content in the same way as for all other apps (i.e. 2 page views per minute).

    Following a request from stakeholders for greater accuracy and transparency in this part of the audience, aggregated Article Views data supplied by Apple were used to work out a proxy at sector level. From the PAMCo 2 2022 release the following averages have been used to allocate page views to distributed content:

    • 1 article view per minute for all newsbrands
    • 1.25 article views per minute for all magazines.

    These factors will be reviewed annually.

  • 31. What is in the PAMCO Questionnaire?

    Print readership

    For all brands:

    Average Issue Readership

    Daily reach (only for newsbrands)

    Weekly reach

    Monthly reach

    Read Past Year

    Frequency of reading

    The four PAMCo frequency codes (Almost Always, Quite Often, Occasionally, Less Often) will be published via the bureaux, but ‘Occasionally’ and ‘Less Often’ will continue to be merged and reported as ‘Only Occasionally’ in top line reports.

    Probability of reading (High, Medium, Low) for newspaper supplements and in-paper sections

    Engagement data

    Source of copy

    Time spent reading

    Attitude statements

    Topic/Sports/News Interest

    A list of 48 different topics, including breakdowns for types of news and sport

    Future plans

    Seven activities planned for the next six months, including obtaining a new car and spending £1,000 or more on home improvements or furnishings

    Five financial activities planned for the next six months, including changing bank or insurance provider Devices used to access the internet in past 30 days

    Classification data



    Sexual Orientation

    Social grade

    Main shopper

    Marital status


    Terminal education age

    Working status

    Chief Income Earner


    Household composition and presence of children

    Ethnic Origin


    Government Office Region



    Other media





    Internet usage

  • 32. What is Average Issue Readership?

    The key measure of print readership is known as Average Issue Readership or AIR. AIR is the number of people who have read or looked at an average issue of a publication. The definition is based on those who say they have last read a publication within its publication interval, i.e.:

    Daily newsbrands Read yesterday
    Sunday newsbrands Read in the last 7 days
    Weekly magazines Read in the last 7 days
    Fortnightly magazines Read in the last 2 weeks
    Monthly magazines Read in the last month
    Bi-monthly Read in the last 2 months
    Quarterly Read in the last 3 months

    For daily newsbrands AIR is available for Saturday editions, as well as an estimate for the 5-day weekday edition, and an overall 6-day estimate.

  • 33. What data are included about digital readers?

    The data incorporated from Ipsos iris are:

    Daily, weekly and monthly reach (Unique Visitors) by platform Page views by platform Time spent by platform Content sections for the newsbrands. It will be possible to analyse these digital sections individually and by 11 content categories: News, Homepage, Sport, Lifestyle, Arts & Entertainments, Personal Finance, Business, Science & Technology, Travel, Jobs/Careers, and Motors.


Using PAMCo in the data bureaux

  • 34. Can I set up favourite runs/cross tabs and use them each time there is a new data release?

    From PAMCo 2 2022 data release onwards any favourite/regular runs saved within the PAMCo dataset can be carried forward for each future PAMCo release.

  • 35. When will I be able to trend my data?

    The significant changes in method and sample relative to the pre-Covid method have inevitably changed the estimates obtained. Given the level of change, it is not possible to make direct comparisons with pre-Covid PAMCo estimates.

    The first release based entirely on new method data will be in June 2022, based on the period September 2020 to March 2022. From this point trending can begin.

  • 36. Can I run my analysis on a base other than 24 months?

    Currently it is not possible to look at any PAMCo data for any periods other than the full survey.

  • 37. Can I do bureaux runs with multiple surveys?

    This is possible. Please contact your own planning bureaux for details on how to carry this out.

    Nielsen IMS: 020 7420 9200

    Kantar Media: 020 7160 5505

    Telmar Communications Ltd: 020 7467 2599

  • 38. How do I carry out reach and frequency planning?

    Please speak to your respective planning bureaux for training on how to carry out reach and frequency planning

  • 39. Why is there no print and digital combined code in reach and frequency analysis?

    There will be a code for the various digital platforms in combination (as well as codes for each of the individual platforms separately). However, as the method of planning print is by insertions and for digital is by page views, it is not possible to combine the two into a single code. Print and digital can be planned in combination in the same schedule, using the separate codes provided for each.

  • 40. Can I produce a plan that is date specific?

    This is not possible, as the audience estimates are an average across the reporting periods concerned.

  • 41. Can I plan several insertions that appear in different parts of a single edition of print title, e.g. one in the main paper and one in an accompanying supplement on the same day?

    No, this is not advisable. At the moment the reach and frequency planning facilities within the bureaux assume that if there is more than one insertion in a publication, that these are placed in different editions. The calculations would be misleading if the intention was that the insertions appeared in the same edition, as reach would be overstated. PAMCo will be working with Ipsos and the bureaux to see if it is possible to develop a facility specifically for this type of analysis.

  • 42. Can I optimise my plan across individual platforms?

    Please contact your respective planning bureaux for information on optimisation tools.

  • 43. If I am a monthly title, can I analyse my daily and weekly print reach as well as monthly reach?

    Daily, weekly and monthly print reach estimates are provided for all brands in the bureaux planning systems. However care should be taken with sample sizes for the smaller brands.

Accessing PAMCo – Audience Measurement for Publishers data

  • 44. How can I access the data?

    The topline data are posted on the PAMCo website subscriber section. PAMCo & Ipsos iris subscribers have access to the full PAMCo database via one of the computer bureaux (Kantar Media, Nielsen IMS, Telmar, Mediatel) licensed by PAMCo Ltd to provide a data analysis service.

    It is also possible to obtain direct access to respondent-level data to feed into your own planning tools. Please contact PAMCo Ltd to find out how to do this.

    To access the full PAMCo dataset you must subscribe to both PAMCo and Ipsos iris, which is the current UKOM approved supplier of digital audience estimates.

  • 45. What sort of Ipsos iris subscription do I need to access the digital data?

    You will need an annual subscription to Ipsos iris which will include full access to the monthly dataset released 15 working days after month close.

    For more information please contact Tasneem Ali on tasneem.ali@ipsos.com

  • 46. Who can be measured on PAMCo?

    Any publisher-owned print or digital brand is welcome to apply to have their brand included in PAMCo. For digital brands this is the case, even if there is no corresponding print brand, or the print brand does not have a readership estimate published.

    For print publications the key consideration is that display advertising is carried. Publications which are not normally covered are:

    Titles carrying only classified advertising, or not carrying advertising at all Trade, business or professional titles, or special-interest titles whose readers are unlikely to be properly represented in the sample Titles aimed primarily at children (aged 14 or under) Titles appearing less often than quarterly, or titles which appear irregularly

    There is no minimum circulation requirement for print publications, but a publication must achieve a minimum sample before any data can be released. Click here to see the PAMCo Rules for Measurement and click here to see PAMCo Publication rules.


  • 47. What if I have a brand that doesn’t have enough sample for publication of a print estimate, or does not have an accompanying print publication, can the digital estimate still be included in the PAMCo dataset?

    Yes, providing it appears within Ipsos iris.

  • 48. How do I get my brand on PAMCo?

    Magazine publishers should approach the PPA (Professional Publishers Association) and newsbrand publishers should contact Newsworks for further information on how to have their brand measured by PAMCo as part of the PAMCo dataset.

  • 49. How do I add, change or amend my print or digital brands on PAMCo?

    Publishers who are members of either Newsworks or the PPA and who wish make changes to their brands that are currently measured on PAMCo should let PAMCo and their respective industry bodies know.

    Any changes required to print and/or digital brands included in PAMCo can be requested by publishers when the list of PAMCo entities is circulated by industry bodies on a six monthly basis. With regard to digital brands in particular, it is the publisher’s responsibility to inform PAMCo of any changes made to the Ipsos iris Dictionary that have an impact on the entities reported by PAMCo.

  • 50. Do I need to be tagged to have my digital brand included?

    Ipsos iris requires tags to be added to any websites that publishers want to be monitored. Tags from previous suppliers will not be automatically replaced. After a publisher places their tag, they should inform Ipsos to verify if the tags are running properly. As a second step, Ipsos will check if this is the case and verify on their end with the publisher that the tag is working. For mobile apps a software development kit (SDK) will be available and should be incorporated to ensure coverage of app traffic is also included.

  • 51. I need help with tagging my digital property, who do I contact?

    Please contact Tasneem Ali on tasneem.ali@ipsos.com

  • 52. How do titles qualify to have estimates published?

    Click here to see the PAMCo Rules for Measurement and click here for the PAMCo rules for Publication.

  • 53. How frequently are PAMCo data published?

    PAMCo audience estimates will be published every six months.

  • 54. When is the next data release?
    Data Period Release Date Embargoed Until
    PAMCo H1 2023 June 2021 – December 2022 (November 2022 Ipsos iris data) 15th March 2023   00.01 22nd March 2023
    PAMCo H2 2023 June 2021 – June 2023 (June 2023 Ipsos iris data) 20th September 2023   00.01 27th September 2023
  • 55. How can I get PAMCo training?

    PAMCo Client Services is dedicated to helping all of our clients use PAMCo data to its full potential. For detail on our training overview and how to book, please click here.