Mace Pavelek, owner of American Research Surveys, said readers of the New Pittsburgh Courier can earn a chance at a $250 shopping spree and other prizes by responding to the paper’s 2011 Readership Survey, but they can also earn much more.

“Readers get to know on a comparative basis, how they and their peers are spending money,” he said. “Of course, some of these people are in business and may benefit from taking the data back to their companies. Then there are the prizes.”

Pavalek, who designed the Courier’s 1990, 2003, 2005, and 2009 surveys, said the questionnaire only takes about 15 minutes to complete.

Changes Pavelek anticipates seeing include a continued move away from cable television systems in favor of online services like Hulu and Netflix, and from traditional radio.

“There’s been a general decline in traditional media in recent years, but local newspapers, providing local information about specific communities are holding up well, some even expanding,” said Pavelek. “So, it can be an eye-opener for account executives about where advertisers can reach consumers.”

As with the previous editions, the Readership Survey looks at readers’ buying habits; from purchasing furniture, clothing and groceries to selecting financial services, healthcare and television shows.

Courier Editor and Publisher Rod Doss said the Readership Survey also allows the Courier to target advertisers and “validates who our readers are.”

“It helps advertisers understand how valuable this readership is,” he said. “This is a market that is typically misunderstood, both in terms of attitudes and buying power. The spending volume alone shows how valuable this market is.”

Readers who return completed entries will be eligible for a $40 dinner-for-two at the Royal Caribbean Restaurant in East Liberty, a $50 Manicure and pedicure at the Shades of Beauty Salon in Swissvale, a $100 certificate for products or services at Affordable Indian Hair, Downtown, or the grand prize—a $250 shopping spree at Wholey’s Market in the Strip District.

The 2011 Readership Survey will appear in the Dec. 21 and Dec. 28 editions. Completed surveys must be returned by Jan 5.

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