How did the diary and telephone change radio measurement in Australia?

Here’s  Asia Radio Today’s chat with me about the latest Diary and telephone methodology in Australia.

Change can be a challenge to an industry that had stuck with the one supplier for more than 50 years, but in 2013 the Australian Commercial Radio industry made a seismic move.  Not only did it move to GfK as its supplier of diary based radio ratings for capital city and large regional markets,  the industry also created a new set of industry standards for software analysis of the ratings results.

At the same time regional markets around Australia reviewed their ratings needs and decided on a telephone based recall system to provide separate ratings for their markets. It was yet another monumental move for these regionals, many of which had not undertaken a major survey in more than 10 years.

Rogerson was part of Commercial Radio Australia’s (CRA) industry research committee that oversaw the review of both the diary and telephone methodology. He has a strong background in radio marketing, media, research and programming spanning Australia and Asia Pacific markets.

His unique insight into the value of listener based research that is both accurate and reliable is timely as Asia looks at research across a number of highly competitive markets.

AsiaRadioToday: How did the change to a new supplier and software analysis come about?

Rogerson: It was driven by the owners and operators of radio stations in Australia via their industry body CRA.  There had really been only one supplier of radio ratings for more than 50 years and with that also came just one software analysis package to analyse the ratings data.

With trends emerging around the world to more sophisticated and integrated data analysis software and a feeling it was time to review the system set a tender process in place. CRA formed a tender research committee for both the capital city and regional market tender process to investigate what else was able to Australian market.


AsiaRadioToday: What’s the reaction been?

Rogerson: Very positive. Both from an advertisers and owner/operator point of view.

The process of tender selection was extremely thorough over almost a 12 month period. A gold standard has been developed for the software analysis systems and now agencies and clients have several analysis packages to choose from to best suit their needs.


AsiaRadioToday:  The industry chose a diary based system for the main capital cities, delivered either on paper or electronically via smart phones and tablets.  What tips do you have for stations that are using a diary based system to increase this ratings?

Rogerson: The diary system procures a share of audience and a cumulative audience set of numbers.  Share is all about Time Spent Listening, so making sure you’re closely aligned with the needs of your target on a day to day basis is vital.

It’s all about getting those listeners to spend more time with you each day.  Cumulative listening is all about the reach of your station, in other words how many different people tune into your station over any given point of time.

The driver here is slightly different. You need to make sure you have the correct marketing and messages in place to continue to attract new and existing listeners back to your station. I call it maximising “day to day tune in”.  The rules of the ratings game are pretty simple.


AsiaRadioToday:  And how about for telephone based ratings, which are being used in Australia’s regional surveys?

Rogerson: The Australian telephone research methodology for regional markets is based on recalling which one station you have listened to the most in the previous 7 days.  Then, the next question is which “other” stations you have listened to.

It’s different from diary methodology because Time Spent Listening really isn’t part of the equation.  You could have listened “the most” to my station for 5 hours last week, or just 30 minutes, so we’re not calculating a share of listening.  It’s more of a measurement of Primary listening. It’s what in radio we call P1 listening.

What I’ve seen though in more than 25 regional markets which have now been measured is the importance of getting cumulative listening to your station in regional markets. You need that critical mass of listeners to help drive your total listening figures.


AsiaRadioToday: How do you use the results from the ratings to increase listener levels?

Rogerson: I guess the answer is use them wisely. Drill down to take a close look at how you’re going with your specific target audience.

Keep in mind though that ratings are a snapshot of what happening at a given period of time across a given set of weeks.  It doesn’t answer the tougher questions like why didn’t someone listen, or how do I do a better job with engaging content on line, or what didn’t my target like that caused them  to tune away?

Rating research is very good to help provide data for your sales and marketing team. But you really need to look at other on-going listener based research like online listener panels or focus groups to set up your forward strategy and tactical plans. Then of course, do this regularly to track and monitor the success of your plan.

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