There are around 100 local and community newspapers in Australia with audited circulations of 5,000 or less – plus a significant though unquantifiable number of unaudited titles. The challenge of measuring such titles in limited geographies within a single survey comes down to sample size.

The same issue was tackled in the UK as long ago as 1990, when regional newspaper readership was modelled from data such as circulation, the characteristics of the area where the title was read and the type of newspaper. The model was immediately successful in the marketplace, generating credible readership estimates for hundreds of titles which previously did not have readership figures. Over the years it was fine-tuned and validated against independent readership surveys carried out by individual titles.

Ipsos began building a bespoke model of regional and community titles in Australia in 2010. The model was validated by readership surveys carried out in a number of regions.

Modelled data is complemented with data collected on approximately 150 larger regional newspapers in the main readership survey. This enables the relationship between circulation, postcode demographics and readership to be constantly checked.