CRA says paper diaries ‘robust’

Staff Writer

Commercial Radio Australia has called for tenders to be submitted for the provision of radio audience measurement commencing in January 2014 following the expiry of Nielsen Media Research's contract at the end of 2013.

However, CRA has stopped short of endorsing electronic measurement, with CEO Joan Warner referring to paper diaries as a 'robust system' and saying that their expectation is that they will remain the main method of radio audience measurement in the short term.

Warner said today;

 “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"

“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.”

CRA have recently trialled online diaries, and the use of mobiles and tablets to record radio listening, systems which remain reliant on the user recalling their radio listening, rather than capturing it electronically.

Of the tender released today, Warner said that this is a very different specification than in previous tenders where one methodology had been required;

“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. “

“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 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. CRA will award the contract in early 2013, and have invited major Australian and International research companies to tender.

The new contract will also mark the commencement of a Gold Standard for radio analysis software, in relation to which Nielsen’s Radio Advisor currently has the monopoly.

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