Mobile and online data capture will become a feature of radio’s audience measurement system from January next year when an e-diary system will be introduced.
International research company GfK has been awarded the three-year audience measurement contract following a five-month tender and will replace Nielsen from January 1 next year.
Nielsen currently measures radio audiences with a paper diary system and has held the contract for 66 years.
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) said a pilot test of the new system will run parallel to the current one throughout the year to ensure validity of the new methods and comparability with the existing currency.
The first survey of 2014 will aim for a minimum of 20% of participants to be surveyed online.
The new e-diary will run across computers, tablets and mobile phones and will be synchronized across the internet.
GfK will also run trials of electronic measurement devices throughout the first two years of the new contract, said Joan Warner, chief executive of CRA.
“The aim being to integrate the best and latest form of electronic measurement into the radio audience measurement suite of tools by the end of the first three year term,” Warner said.
“At this stage, no electronic device has proved to be reliable or robust enough as the sole measure of radio audience measurement given the scale and complexity of radio’s requirements.
“However the industry is committed to investigating with GfK in the first 24 months whether there is a device that may be integrated into a multimodal approach and would be both feasible and cost effective.”
A 5,000 member radio audience behavior panel will also be established to look deeper into the consumption of radio via the internet, platform usage trends, the role of radio as well as mobile and headphone listening.
The key insights from the panel will be reported quarterly.
A Gold Standard for radio analysis software will be in place from 2014 allowing for certification of software used for audience measurement reporting.
Rhys Holleran, chair of CRA and CEO of Southern Cross Austereo, said: “Networks and radio stations across Australia should welcome this decision given the significant changes to come with plans to include the e-diary and to investigate electronic data collection.”
“It will also be good news for advertisers who have been encouraging radio to explore additional data collection methods to position us for the 21st century.”
There will be eight surveys for the five metro markets, three a year for Newcastle and the Gold Coast, two per year in Canberra and markets such as Wollongong and the NSW Central Coast.