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Publishers will meet in Miami this week to talk about creating a syndicated print media study for pan-Latin American publications similar to the successful 2-year-old TAP Latin America survey that satellite and cable operators use to sell their fast-growing medium to advertisers.

"If we don't do something about this fast, cable's going to whittle away at our market," said David Taggart, group publisher of Dow Jones & Co. business monthly America Economia and organizer of the meeting. "They have price, penetration and now [research] numbers that we don't have. It's at our peril if we don't react."

One client, Siemens, told him recently that the German marketer wouldn't advertise with print media "on emotion" any more. "We're Germans, we want numbers," Mr. Taggart recounted.

This week's meeting will be attended by Time, Newsweek, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, National Geographic, and Visi¢n, he said.

The TAP Latin America survey includes some print media questions but is more geared toward TV.

"It asks questions like do you know Time magazine, and nine of 10 people say yes," Mr. Taggart said. "It doesn't ask do you read Time magazine? The TAP study does us no good."

Mr. Taggart said he hopes publishers will decide at the meeting to go ahead with the project. One problem to be worked out would be how to get the upscale respondents the survey would target to answer a questionnaire.

"People don't answer questions by phone or fax at the level we want, and face-to-face interviews are tough [in Latin America] because of security," he said.

At least six bids would probably be sought from market research firms like Audits & Surveys, which does the TAP study; RSL International; and A.C. Nielsen Co. One market research company has estimated the price of doing such a survey at $500,000 to $700,000.

"Our market as America Economia is still growing, but every day I hear an increasing percentage of overall budgets is going to cable," he said. "Everyone from Fox to CNN is using [the TAP research] quite aggressively increase spending. I'm confident the [print media] numbers when done right will speak for themselves and we'll do OK."

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