Radio industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) has announced it has appointed Xtra Research as the official provider of regional radio surveys, commencing January 2016.
Xtra will undertake radio audience measurement for markets outside of the five capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and three major centres of the Gold Coast, Canberra and Newcastle, which are already covered by the current GfK Audience Measurement Survey contract.
Announcing the appointment, CRA CEO Joan Warner said the decision would enable smaller radio markets to undertake more regular, reliable and cost effective audience measurement that was consistent across markets.
“The industry looks forward to working with Xtra to provide valuable insights into the regional listening audience for stations, advertisers and agencies,” Warner said.
Previously, the prohibitive cost of conducting radio ratings surveys in smaller regional areas meant that some had not been surveyed for some years.
CRA introduced a new methodology in 2014, which enabled regional radio stations to commission one of a panel of four approved providers to undertake surveys in conjunction with other commercial and public broadcasters in their licence area.
Under the panel system, Xtra conducted surveys in Wollongong, Albury, Swan Hill, Hobart, Horsham, Hamilton, Colac, Warnambool, Sunshine Coast and Townsville. Xtra will now become the single regional radio survey provider from 2016.
“There has been a very positive response to the new research and we hope to see it expand across more markets,” Warner said.
CRA is also in the process of selecting a software provider to create a Gold Standard to take regional radio surveys into the next phase of development. The Gold Standard enables radio stations and agencies to utilise software to optimise media planning, buying and results analysis.