Commercial radio stations and media buyers are demanding improvements in the design of industry-wide audience research, amid claims that the unwieldiness of the current Rajar survey is frustrating revenue growth.
Radio executives and market researchers met on Monday this week, under the auspices of the Media Research Group, to discuss the future measurement of radio audiences.
The existing 2m-a-year Rajar contract, which has been run since 1992 by research company RSL, is scheduled for replacement at the beginning of 1999.
But, according to Malcolm Cox, marketing director at EMAP Radio, key decisions must be made soon.
Cox, speaking at the MRG meeting, insisted that commercial stations must demand more user-friendly data to satisfy the demands of ad agency clients. “The radio industry has done well in recent years to raise its take of display ad revenue to five per cent,” he says.
“But if we take five per cent of media budgets from agencies while we are still taking up ten per cent of time in planning and buying, that doesn’t represent an incentive to agencies to give us more money.”
The contract is expected to be hotly contested. Incumbent RSL, NOP, Millward Brown and BMRB are among UK research companies expected to bid for the contract. US radio research specialist Arbitron is also expected to establish a London office in September to help bolster its planned bid.
EMAP has named its new broadcast sales and marketing division EMAP On Air. It aims to integrate radio and TV interests.