Britain's ad agencies have long called for a cross-media measurement scheme. Now they've decided to set one up themselves.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the trade body for UK agencies, this week unveiled proposals for a single-source media research system and revealed it hopes to launch a pilot in early 2004.

To be funded by IPA members, the project will measure media consumption among different demographic groups. It will gauge usage of TV, radio, print titles, posters and websites, while media such as direct marketing, ambient and point-of-sale could also be included. The system is designed to complement existing medium-specific research, such as BARB for television and RAJAR for radio.

"We want to be able to fuse the medium-by-medium surveys into this multimedia consumer-centric measurement," declared PHD managing director Morag Blazey, who will head the scheme alongside IPA research chief Lynne Robinson. "We want to know what consumers do all day so we can make good media plans."

Added Robinson: "We’re looking for a survey that will act as a hub to knit together the existing buying systems and work as a central planning tool."

Four research groups, among them TNS and BMRB, are said to be competing for the contract. The IPA is yet to decide on a methodology, with paper diaries, portable meters and personal digital assistants all being considered.

Data sourced from: Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff