Is Radio ready for biggest change to survey methodology in 70 years?

GfK’s Dr Morten Boyer tells Peter Saxon: Yes.

From next July, in either metro Survey 4 or 5, two new elements will be introduced to the way in which radio surveys are conducted in Australia.

For the first time, a panel of 2,000 people (400 in each metro market) will be asked to wear a watch that’s so smart, it can tell what radio station the wearer is listening to. Added to that will be a new GfK tagging technology that can capture online streaming data as well as using server logs directly from the networks.

In the initial stages, neither of these changes will affect the diary system – although the diaries too are gradually migrating from paper to electronic data gathering. Rather, the GfK watches will act to validate data captured from online tagging and through smart speakers and apps such as the RADIOAPP. And yes, there are ways of measuring earbud and headphone listening too.

The grand plan, though is to measure all of the different platforms on which radio can be heard, combine all the data sets together in a meaningful way that can provide advertisers and radio operators an accurate and detailed picture of their listeners. Of course, the first challenge was to come up with a, brand-new brand that encapsulates all that: Radio 360.

For the full story on Radio 360, listen to Peter Saxon’s chat with GfK Managing Director, Morten Boyer.



“There has been a lot of discussion previously about switching from diaries to meters, but it was a very binary discussion one or the other. One of the results of the measurement innovation program and pilot study that we began a few years ago was that we quickly realized that to get as comprehensive a system as possible, we need to look at multiple datasets.

“So Radio 360 will be introducing two new forms of data, which will be captured differently compared to the diaries. The first one is streaming data, which will capture using our tagging technology at JFK… The second one is that we’ll be building a new watch meter panel… we will be integrating these new data sets into one single data set for users to then access on their platform of choice.”

So how does the watch actually work?
“The watch essentially records ambient audio, so the responder is asked to wear the watch throughout all the waking hours of the day, and then the watch is basically recording the ambient audio in the respondent’s environment. It’s also encrypting that audio as well for privacy so that there’s no way to actually discern any intelligible conversation or sounds or anything like that. We then use the ambient audio recordings to match with the content that went to air. So once we see what the respondent was exposed to and then match that to the audio that we know went to air, that’s how we know what people listen to and for how long and when.”