RAJAR Ltd

RAJAR Ltd

May 22, 2006 07:00 ET

RAJAR Reveals New Audience Measurement Contract To Start January 2007

LONDON, ENGLAND--(CCNMatthews - May 22, 2006) -

- New 2-year contract awarded to three suppliers featuring enhanced diary and pilot electronic panel

- Introduction of new elements to the survey including platform data, faster data-delivery, improved sampling and simplified radio map

- Experimental electronic data-capture with BARB

RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research Ltd) unveiled today (May 22, 2006) its blueprint for a new audience measurement contract to provide the industry with a robust and reliable currency from 2007 onwards. The two-year contract is to be split between three suppliers, Ipsos MORI, RSMB and TNS, and RAJAR is to combine resources with BARB on an experimental electronic data-capture programme.

The core survey has been overhauled to build on the quality and delivery of the research. First of all, a newly designed diary is to enable RAJAR to report via platform, thus making the UK radio market the first in the world to provide audience listening data separately via digital platform and allowing listening to be broken down by analogue, DAB, DTV and Internet. Secondly, the introduction of an enhanced sample design will further improve the quality of the data. Specific changes are to result in faster data delivery by up to two weeks, more efficient use of samples to address issues of volatility, increases in the effectiveness of sample size and a simpler, more economical radio map.

In addition, RAJAR has entered a joint venture with BARB which sees the establishment of an electronic measurement panel in the London area, and which will provide both organisations with continuous opportunities for research and development, leading to the interrogation of key insights into radio audience listening. RAJAR has committed an additional GBP3 million across two years to fund these new elements.

Commented Sally de la Bedoyere, managing director, RAJAR: "The new RAJAR contract is a real step forward for the radio industry and will ensure the continued provision of a robust and reliable radio audience survey. The RAJAR board has made a clear and strategic decision in opting to introduce this two-year contract. Not only will it protect and upgrade the existing currency, it will also allow us to press ahead immediately with the introduction of a number of excellent improvements to the survey. Furthermore, the establishment of an electronic panel will move us up a level, beyond simply the testing of audiometers, to an exciting and essential period of research and development involving electronic measurement.

"The RAJAR Board fully supports this step and sees the establishment of the electronic panel as a vital component within RAJAR's programme of change. The data this structure can potentially provide us with will, hopefully, lead to publishable insights with regards, particularly, to individual listening habits over time, degrees of volatility and a greater granularity of data."

The decision to introduce a new, two-year contract will not only give the industry time to learn about the audiometer data and its consistency over time, it will also allow for the introduction of the new and necessary planning processes and protocols required to ensure the smooth introduction of electronic measurement when ready and affordable. Moreover, it also permits RAJAR to introduce much sought after improvements, while providing continuous data delivery including a simplified radio map, faster data delivery and more efficient use of samples, which will relieve the issue of volatility. Furthermore, Ipsos MORI and TNS are both involved in a programme to trial PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) which are to be incorporated into the survey if they prove to be an effective tool amongst younger men. Perhaps, most important of all, RAJAR will be able to identify listening data across digital platforms as part of the standard audience measurement.

De la Bedoyere continued: "We are delighted that BARB has agreed to our proposal to establish a joint electronic panel and, whilst their requirements are different to ours, it makes eminent sense to work together on this project. RAJAR's commitment over the next two years to this venture is a decisive and exciting one. Not only will it provide the industry with a range of new and unprecedented opportunities, it will also allow us to ascertain the mutual value of audiometers to both industries."

The joint venture will explore the value of panel data in relation to RAJAR's current sweep collection and investigate the reality of volatility between diary and audiometer methodology. RAJAR will also be able to assess the value of panel insights in relation to changes in listening patterns and platform preferences and Commercial Radio will have the chance to identify ways in which such insights might be monetised in the future.

The new contract is to run for two years, beginning in January 2007, although work on the new service has already begun and preparatory fieldwork on the new radio map will enter the field in July 2006. First reports relating to the new radiomap and platform data are expected to be published in Quarter 2, 2007.

Jenny Abramsky, director, BBC Radio and Music, commented: "The new RAJAR contract is a major step forward for radio audience measurement, significantly improving the methodology, whilst maintaining continuity of the data. We particularly welcome the advances in sample design, quality control and the introduction of data on platform listening. The investment in a large electronic meter pilot will allow us to resolve unanswered questions about metering technology and prepare for a smooth transition to meter data, should the pilot prove successful. As a shareholder of both BARB and RAJAR with interests in television, radio and cross-media measurement, the BBC is delighted that BARB and RAJAR are collaborating with the meter pilot."

Commenting on behalf of the Commercial Radio Companies Association Paul Brown, chief executive, added: "RAJAR consulted with customers and users in late 2004 regarding how radio research should develop. Commercial Radio and advertisers most wanted stable, robust, recent data. The contract announced today provides this via simplified survey geography, improved sample efficiency and RSMB's new quality control role. The London meter panel will nail radio's electronic measurement compliance issues and provide the radio industry with vital information to prepare for trading on electronic data. Significantly the panel also marks a unique and pioneering collaboration between television and radio which we believe advertisers will like."

THE 2007 CONTRACT

The three supplier contracts are to run concurrently for two years, with standard options to extend. The first of these contracts sees the core currency provided by an improved radio diary service, managed by Ipsos MORI, the current supplier. Data turn around times are to be reduced by up to two weeks and the diary is to capture platform as well as location of listening. As de la Bedoyere explained: "Developmental work over the past year has shown that people can accurately identify platform in the majority of cases and RAJAR is confident it can provide a reliable breakdown of listening according to the delivery source." Ipsos MORI is a highly experienced diary survey exponent, and their track record and expertise, combined with their skill in operating the largest active in-home fieldforce in Europe makes them a natural choice for this role.

Richard Silman, executive chairman of Ipsos MORI said: "We are delighted RAJAR has selected Ipsos MORI as the lead contractor for the new contract and we will continue to provide the currency for radio audience measurement in the UK. The award of a contract valued at GBP4.5 million in the first year is a vote of confidence in the service we currently provide. Over the next two years our focus will be to enhance our existing service. At the same time we will be working with the industry to develop our mobile phone based metering technology to provide an electronic measurement system for radio."

The second contract sees respected BARB supplier, RSMB Audience Research, taking responsibility for sampling, weighting, processing and reporting and overall quality control. De la Bedoyere, backing the appointment, said: "In 15 years of serving BARB, RSMB has become a by-word for technical excellence and innovative thinking, and RAJAR is delighted to bring such skills and experience to bear on the design and implementation of the new contract."

Roger Gane, research director of RSMB, commented: "RSMB is delighted to have been awarded this important contract. We look forward to working with RAJAR and all the parties involved, to ensure that the new audience measurement service meets the needs of the radio industry."

Finally, in a new joint venture with BARB, RAJAR has commissioned TNS to recruit, install and operate an electronic measurement panel using the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM). This panel will initially act as a learning outlet for the entire radio industry, whilst preparing the way for a move to a full electronic system for radio as and when it becomes feasible. Data from the panel is to be analysed separately and will not be integrated in to the main currency. The electronic measurement panel is to run for two years and will deliver weekly data from 50 national and London radio stations within the M25 across four platforms: analogue, DAB, DTV and Internet. It is anticipated that RAJAR will provide regular reports regarding key listening insights from this panel.

Bjarne Thelin, chief executive of BARB commented: "There are efficiency benefits in the collection of data jointly in this project, but each organisation will have sovereignty over the data for the medium they represent. This project provides BARB with an opportunity to generate a lot of learning and will exist purely to give us more information on the viability of techniques in possible system designs".
Richard Marks, director of Research & Business Development, TNS added: "TNS is delighted that, following the rigorous testing programme, PPM has been selected as the technology of choice for the electronic panel. We are now relishing the chance to work as a contractor with RAJAR to introduce the benefits of metered measurement and a panel-based methodology, both of which are new developments for UK radio audience measurement. BARB's decision to join this initiative means that these really are exciting times for broadcast audience measurement in the UK."

ENDS

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