NEWS18 September 2012

Commercial Radio Australia calls audience measurement review

Asia Pacific New business

AUSTRALIA— Commercial Radio Australia has published a tender for its audience measurement service to start in January 2014. The incumbent on the account is Nielsen, who have been invited to repitch.

Joan Warner, the chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia, has published the tender inviting bids from agencies who can demonstrate competence in maintaining paper diaries and are willing to investigate more modern approaches.

“While the industry expects that the global standard of paper diaries for collection of radio audience data will remain the main method of collection of radio audience measurement in the short term, the industry is also very open to proposals for supplementary data collection methods to enhance the basic methodology,” she says in the tender document. She adds: “The industry is looking to enhance the methodology currently used for the collection of radio audience measurement data and is prepared to consider a range of proposals for the next contract. The industry is seeking proposals, advice, and evidence of performance and results from research companies that will lead to a cost effective methodology.”

The welcome for digital measurement methodologies follows a 2007 investigation of supplementary data collection methods, including online diaries and the use of mobiles and tablets to record radio listening.

The tender document says: “Recent tests of an online diary yielded much more positive results that when we carried out a similar test in 2007. This highlights how people’s increasing use of technology means listeners now appear more willing to record their listening habits online.”

It adds: “Australian radio has one of the most robust listenership measurement systems in the world but that doesn’t stop us considering ways to improve it further. It should also be remembered that one of radio’s major strengths, its mobility, ubiquity and reach into all situations, conversely, provides one of the major challenges for radio audience measurement.”

The current measurement system, managed by Nielsen, includes eight surveys a year in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth as well as three surveys a year in Newcastle and the Gold Coast, two a year in Canberra and one in Wollongong. It will expire at the end of 2013.

A decision on the winning research companies will be made early next year.