Because the information is compiled by NRS through telephone surveys, the readership data is an estimate within the whole UK population - not a verified, audited figure like a circulation figure from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (www.abc.org).
- Circulation: The number of copies of the newspaper or magazine which are sold in newsagents or delivered by paid or free subscription
- Readership: The number of readers the newspaper or magazine has
Readership will always be higher than circulation, because every publication will have at least one reader per copy and may have several readers per copy.
Most NRS data is only available through a subscription service, but basic data is available to anyone from the NRS website, www.nrs.co.uk.
The Top Line Readership section provides tables of readership figures for newspapers, general magazines and women's magazines.
The readership numbers show the estimated number of readers each publication has within a number of target groups:
- Total is the total UK adult population
- Socio-economic groups: ABC1 and C2DE
- Age: 15-44 and 45+ age groups
In each case, NRS provides a number and a percentage. The number is the readership figure, and the percentage is the fraction of the whole target group reached by that publication. So if a magazine has a figure for women of 9%, it means 9% of the UK population of women reads that magazine.
(It doesn't mean 9% of the magazine's readers are women.)
Even this basic NRS data can be useful, because it helps you to build up a picture of the type of people reading a newspaper or magazine. Once you know their ages, genders and social grouping you can begin to see what issues are important to them and what stories will be of interest.