Following last month's announcement, UK radio audience measurement body RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) plans to step-up its testing programme for electronic meters [WAMN 29-Sep-04].
This has now moved into overdrive. Initially, it was scheduled for a March 2005 start, with the intention to switch entirely from manual diaries to meters by the start of 2007.
But the testing schedule has been brought forward. Early next month an entire floor of a north London hotel will be utilized for a weekend, with 250 people participating in usage trials to prove the accuracy and efficacy (or otherwise) of three competing electronic measurement systems.
The hardware will be required to identify up to thirty-three radio stations, music and speech-based, in a wide range of 'real-life' situations and against various levels of background noise.
RAJAR's specification requires that the audiometers can identify all formats equally, whether music or speech, against a variety of extraneous background noises, when played at differing volume levels and regardless of whether the wearers are still or moving.
On test are Arbitron's Portable People Meter, Eurisko's World Media Monitor and GfK/Telecontrol's wristwatch-style device – as currently used by The Wireless Group to produce alternative data to that issued by RAJAR.
A key player in the trials is the National Centre for Social Research, which has not only helped design the testing programme, but will also manage and oversee its execution.
The evaluation of the tests will be presented to RAJAR's board in December.
Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff