Britain's radio audience measurement body RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) will this week put out to tender a new contract for the nationwide monitoring of radio audiences.

The tender specification requires that bidders initially continue to operate RAJAR's antiquated paper diary system alongside the use of electronic audiometers.

Another new development is that companies will be allowed to tender for specific elements of the contract rather than pitch for the entire operation, said to be worth in the region of £5 million ($8.8m; €7.3) annually.

Says managing director Sally de la Bedoyere: "RAJAR is tasked by its subscribers to select the very best methodology for the radio industry and therefore we must pursue every avenue which presents itself so we can deliver thoroughly tested, accurate and affordable "gold-standard" data both now and in the future."

Shortlisted contenders will be revealed in the autumn and the winner/s announced early in 2006. The chosen company/ies will run the manual and electronic systems in parallel for a period of six months, with the new methodology finalised by 2007.

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