Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Scarborough Research under the Microscope

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Scarborough Research under the Microscope

Article excerpt

AN ALLIANCE OF New York-area newspapers is reevaluating its relationship with Scarborough Research Corp.

Last week, a four-member subcommittee of the New York Research Users Group invited five national research firms to present proposals to the group, said Steve Seraita, vice preside t and marketing director for Sawyer Ferguson Walker, and a member of the group

"The interest of the user group is to explore what other leaders of nationally recognized research firms have to offer," Seraita said.

"Scarborough is not out of this," he added. "They have been invited and have every opportunity to attain this business."

Requests for proposals were sent to the following groups: the Roper Organization Inc., the Gallup Organization, Audits Surveys, Simmons Market Research Bureau, Mediamark Research Inc. and Scarborough.

Outlines for proposals are due by Feb. 3, and presentations are planned for mid-month.

The decision was prompted by the growing sentiment, among some Scarborough clients, that the firm isn't providing those in the New York area of dominant influence (ADI) with proper support.

"There has been a decline in the level of client service we've seen in recent years," said Ed Farrell, research manager at Newsday and New York Newsday. "We're looking for reasonable solutions to some of the problems."

Research managers are still smarting over a five-market section readership study that Scarborough conducted last year for a television network and its affiliates.

Newspapers dislike section readership studies because the data can be used by television and radio stations to devalue total newspaper readership, since not all readers look at all sections (E&P, Aug. 13,1994).

Some newspapers also are concerned about a new joint venture in which Ceredian Corp.'s Arbitron division, which measures the demographics of radio audiences, received an interest in Scarborough's market research business.

A recent Searborough market stud also contained discrepancies in the printed and electronic versions. While Scarborough acknowledged and corrected the errors, members said that Scarborough failed to inform some clients of the mistakes. …

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