As radio moves online, will License Area Plans mean less? – updated

Survey 4 will be thrust upon us – NOT tomorrow as previously advised – but on Tuesday, 11 July, at 9:30 am, sharp.

Now that much of the new methodology that was revealed in Survey 3 failed to upset the proverbial apple cart that some in the industry expected, we don’t anticipate more than the usual movement to established  pecking orders.

Nonetheless, one of our astute readers brought to our attention what could amount to a minor upheaval over time. 

“You may or may not be aware” (to be honest, we weren’t) they wrote,” but the new GfK Radio360 streaming figures include listeners statewide, not just in the metro Licence Area Plans (LAP).

“Due to the inaccurate nature of IP address geolocation in Australia, they could only drill down to state based streaming listeners. I believe this is the first time that a station can claim an audience outside its LAP.”

Nice work, Sherlock! We don’t call ourselves a “site for broadcast professionals” for nothing.

Indeed, upon checking with Commercial Radio Australia, a spokesperson told us:

“For the first time, GfK Radio 360 has allowed the commercial radio industry and advertisers to separate streaming from broadcast data for listener measurement by station for the five major metro markets. The evolution in survey methodology means that in addition to the 50,000 surveys per year, streaming information for the metro stations is gathered from station logs and GfK sensic tags, with this information based on Internet Protocol (IP) locations. GfK metro surveys are based on ‘in market’ listening which includes state-based streaming data. GfK uses geo-targeting to remove people listening from interstate or overseas before integrating the data for each metro station included in the survey.”

Even so, that would suggest that, as radio inexorably moves online, metro stations would gain even greater cumes because they can cover their whole state, not just the market for which they are licensed.

Our reader says, “Whilst this is good for metro radio stations (increased figures), regional stations don’t get to claim statewide streaming figures as Xtra Insights don’t use streaming logs like GfK do, just phone recall interviews with people in the LAP.”

Does it matter? Probably not. At least not yet.

CRA advises that, “The vast majority of streaming listening for metro stations takes place within the defined survey area.

“The broad consistency in listener numbers overall between GfK 2023 surveys two and three reflects the robustness of the Radio 360 survey methodology. Diary data continues to determine audience listening and the number of listeners while streaming data does not increase the listening or listener base, but does determine the size of the streaming audience inside that base.

“The separation of streaming data from broadcast for the major metro markets has been well received by the commercial radio industry and advertisers, who welcomed the insights available from the third survey for 2023 as the first phase in the evolution of audience gathering to reflect the changing ways that people consume radio.

“The radio survey methodologies used by GfK for the major metro surveys, and Xtra Insights for regional surveys and are not comparable. GfK Radio 360 uses a hybrid data collection system as detailed, while Xtra Insights uses the CATI data collection methodology.  CRA remain committed to the continued evolution of all audience measurement systems for radio stations throughout Australia.”

Peter Saxon

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