Electronic Measurement: UK Radio Body Continues to Dither

24 May 2006

After years of indecision, recently marked by a warning shot across its bows from Britain's media and telecoms regulator, RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) this week decided to delay commitment to electronic audience measurement for another two years.

During this period, RAJAR will continue with its antiquated paper-diary based measurement methodology - the focal point of much criticism, controversy and an unsuccessful legal action.

The much-maligned paper diary system is run for RAJAR by Ipsos Mori, which will now be required to work with two other contractors - RSMB Audience Research and TNS.

The former will assume responsibility for sampling, weighting, processing, reporting and overall quality control, while TNS will set up an electronic survey panel using Arbitron's Portable People Meter audiometer.

As reported earlier this month [WAMN: 18-May-06], the PPM programme will be trialled in London in conjunction with BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board), the radio body's equivalent in TV audience measurement. The joint project will use a 500-strong panel, although the trial results will not be made public.

The two measurement bodies stress they have different needs and are not working towards a joint radio and TV measurement system.

Says BARB chief executive Bjarne Thelin: "This project provides [us] with an opportunity to generate a lot of learning"; while RAJAR managing director Sally de la Bedoyere and BBC radio and music director Jenny Abramsky, greeted it as a major "step forward".

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff