Network CDs ‘comfortable’ with changes to survey methodology.

The other week we spoke to GfK’s Dr Morten Boyer about next year’s changes – the biggest to the way we measure Radio audiences since ratings were introduced, some 70 years ago.  

The main changes:

  • The introduction of “wearables” in the of form watches that passively gather data as to which stations the wearer comes within earshot during a surveyed period.
  • The introduction of GfK tagging technology that can capture online streaming data as well as using server logs directly from the networks.
  • An accelerated migration of paper diaries to e-diaries.

Last week we asked three of Australia’s top content directors whether they were comfortable with all these changes which could, potentially, turn station standings upside down, as  happened in America a decade ago.

Given the extensive consultation that GfK had had with all stakeholders, stations and advertisers, it’s unlikely that the U.S. experience would be replicated in Australia.

ARN’s Duncan Campbell says, “What I like most is the of farewelling of the paper diaries. They were seen as archaic. And then there’s the introduction of some streaming data and some passive listening data as well. So, I think it’s a great step forward for the industry.

“The lessons from overseas are that everyone jumped on that data and was making minute by minute decisions based on what was being recorded. But just because someone stops listening in the middle of a song doesn’t mean they turned off (the radio) because they didn’t like the song –  they might have just got out of the car, for example.  That sort of behaviour has now changed considerably overseas, and there’s not that minute-by-minute decision making that was certainly made in the early days of passive measurement.”

Nova Entertainment’s Paul Jackson agrees that the launch of “wearables” overseas was less than ideal. “They were only measuring one thing,” he says, “They threw out one methodology and went to another.

This (in Australia) isn’t throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This is well weighted. The watch is just a component and it’s still subject to a diary which wil be (mostly) online. So, I think I the mixture is right and well balanced.”

Nine Radio’s Greg Byrnes admits. “I was a little bit concerned about how a more mature listener might adapt to that. But the research showed that they’re open to new technologies and quite quick at picking them up. The increased use of e-diaries over recent months has had a minimal impact on surveys overall. So, provided the information and the marketing campaign is done effectively, which it will be, I’m quite comfortable with it all.” 

Peter Saxon