Antony Young, chief executive of ZenithOptimedia UK, is not one to mince his words.

Britain's established media measurement bodies BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board), the National Readership Survey and RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) are dismissed as "expensive evils" that restrict the use of new and innovative methods of measuring media They also display an attitude that fails to reflect the new communications environment.

So reads a report authored by Young and published this week. It argues that measurement systems which fail to track the "true media effect" could despatch Britain's mass media to an "early grave.

"Three out of four media owners I meet tell me they're frustrated with the way television, radio or press research fails to account for the uniqueness of their product or audience," he rails.

"Most complain that agencies - including us - rely too much on numbers and not enough on quality. I am included to agree with them."

However, the acerbic Young spares a kind word (of sorts) for such off-centre measurement systems as the Radio Bureau's Sales Multiplier; along with Skyview and Media DNA. Although acknowledging their innovation, he suggests they remain beyond the status quo of the universally used measurement systems.

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