FEATURES — 2005 DAS READERSHIP SURVEY: Newsmagazine Format Appeals to Readers

© 2005 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 2005
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Page 62

Newsmagazine Format Appeals to Readers

Readership of Door & Access Systems remains at a high level, according to a new reader survey. Door dealers, who comprise 90 percent of the 19,800 readers of the magazine, completed the online survey in late October. Similar surveys were conducted in October 2001 and October 2003.

Nearly 900 dealers in all U.S. states and Canada were invited to take the 2005 survey, and 163 surveys were completed. The previous two surveys, conducted via fax, were sent to fewer than 200 recipients. These two surveys yielded fewer than 90 responses.

From Cover to Cover

In the new survey, a fourth of all respondents (23 percent) say they read the magazine “from cover to cover.” Another 44 percent say they read “most of it.” These two key statistics remained stable from the 2001 and 2003 surveys.

“Since this survey was sent to a much larger group,” says Tom Wadsworth, magazine editor, “I was surprised that the results were so consistent with 2001 and 2003.”

Most-Popular Sections

Readers were asked to indicate how often they read the 10 different sections of the magazine. The top four most-read sections are Sales Tips, Headlines, Technical Tips, and then Newslines. Headlines and Newslines were in the top three in 2003.

“Focusing on news and current topics continues to be popular with readers,” says Wadsworth. “These sections provide the backbone of our identity as a newsmagazine.”

The bottom four sections were Pages of History, Clippings, and Ten Years Ago, with Letters to the Editor bringing up the rear. These four sections, however, have a strong following with many readers. About half of all respondents say they read them “all” or “most of the time.”

One reader commented, “I like the Pages of History. I have saved them and sometimes refer back to them.”

Most-Popular Stories

The 2005 survey presented the titles of nine major stories from 2005. Readers were then asked how thoroughly they read each story.

The top three 2005 stories were (1) “The Frequency Interference Battle: How It Happened” (spring 2005), (2) “The Garage Door: The New Front Door to the American Home” (spring 2005), and (3) “The 2005 Carriage-House Sales Report (summer 2005).

“These three stories were good examples of our unique strength as a newsmagazine,” says the editor. “We constantly try to provide in-depth coverage and analysis of the industry’s hottest topics and trends.”

The Typical Dealer

The survey also provided a helpful portrait of the typical garage door dealer. Most (87 percent) are male, between 40 and 59 years old (73 percent), have a high-school diploma or less than two years of college (56 percent), and are the owner (76 percent) or general manager (15 percent).

Readers come from dealerships of every size. Dealers with 6-10 employees comprise 23 percent of all readers, followed by 1-5 employees (18 percent), 11-15 employees (17 percent), and 21-30 employees (14 percent). Ten percent of all readers belong to a door company with 50 employees or more.

Reader Remarks

The survey asked readers to submit comments about the magazine. The question was optional, yet 43 respondents took time to draft a remark.

Of all their comments, all but four were positive and complimentary of the magazine. Some sample comments:
· “You have addressed a lot of problems and questions openly, and have provided guidance in areas we had none in before.”
· “It is a valuable asset to my business.”
· “It is well written, stylish in format, and covers pertinent topics that are relevant to my concerns.”
· “Very informative. Additional subject matter not found from any other sources. Great resource material.”
· “I believe it is a superior read, and enjoy every issue, keeping it on my desk until it is completely read and then passing it down to my managers.”

The next readership survey is slated for October 2007.

Chart Caption: Even though the magazine has doubled its pages since 1996, those who read “all” or “most” of the magazine have nearly doubled, from 36 percent in 1996 to 67 percent in 2005.