The two discrete UK bodies that monitor TV and radio audiences - BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) and RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) - are to cooperate on a joint electronic research project.
Reportedly instigated by RAJAR, which currently uses a paper diary system, the ''people-meter' programme will be trialled in London using a 500-strong panel. The results, however, will not be made public.
Industry observers are puzzled by the venture, especially given the intrinsic consumption differences between the two media. Furthermore, the joint project appears to be a strangely low profile affair, there being no reference to it in the public areas of the two bodies' websites.
Electronic measurement for radio is targeted to go live next year, according to the RAJAR document Roadmap for Change. However, to meet the schedule for a 2007 launch, the radio body should by now have decided which measurement system it intends to use.
Speculation around London's media parish pump is that RAJAR has yet to make that choice and is hampered by financial considerations.
Insiders say that Arbitron's portable people-meter will be used in the new trial as it is the only developed device seen as sufficiently reliable to meet Rajar's requirements. Moreover, BARB, unlike RAJAR, is already well-versed in the use of electronic measurement techniques.
Data sourced from Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff