Monday, December 22, 2008

It Only Took 14 Years

Two weeks ago, BBM Canada announced the launch of Canada’s first radio meter panel. The Montreal market launch is the first phase of BBM Canada’s rollout plan which will see PPM measurement brought to Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton in Fall 2009.

Meanwhile, Nielsen just completed their Lexington test of their new competition for Arbitron, the roster diary, using an address-based sample.

..all of which reminded me of a memo I wrote to clients on April 15, 1994:

As diary-based survey results wobble up and down from Arbitrend to BBM, broadcasters are sometimes heard to wish aloud for a "better, more reliable means of measuring radio listening." Some time this Fall, we will get a preview of considerable testing being conducted right now at the University of Montreal on the Portable People Meter. It remains to be seen if a small pager-like device will be able to replace the written weekly diary. Meanwhile, Canada's BBM has just concluded that an aided-recall "roster diary' study and decided that the results were insufficient to justify the conversion to rostering. Last Spring, BBM conducted a parallel test in aided recall and the current unaided recall diary. On the roster diary, stations were prelisted on a sheet of peel and stick labels that could be placed in the diary as a means of improving response rates and eliminating call letter confusion. Response did improve, but only 1.4% and BBM calls the increase "statistically insignificant." In general, diary rejections did not decrease with the roster technique. Two things did improve - fewer diary editing and callbacks had to be done and phantom cume was lessened as the roster diary was able to capture more tuning than the regular diary. Diarykeepers in focus groups commented that the roster method was easy to understand and do. However, after reviewing the improvements, BBM executives decided that none of the results was significant enough to justify a change from aided recall to rostering all Canada's diaries. In fact, the review committee stated that "the current diary was performing well" overall.

.. which tempted me to wonder if there has ever been anything new under the ratings sun. Until I found this. And this. Why do I suddenly feel like Benjamin Button?

3 comments: said...

You are genius before your time!

Albright & O'Malley said...

Hardly, Cartherine. It's just that developing these things over a 14 year period makes it easier for a slow learner like me.. ;->

Steve Burgess said...

Cool stuff, Jaye. Prescience is of extreme value in a consultant!

Here's a link to David Gleason's scan of an article in Broadcasting Magazine from 1934, discussing metered measurement of radio in Boston: