Rajar given extensive support for radio audience electronic measurement plans

Rajar has received the backing of international radio groups and clients in its approach to testing electronic measuring devices.

Rajar, the joint BBC and commercial radio audience measurement body, is hoping its support will help counter heavy criticism from Kelvin Mackenzie’s Wireless Group, owner of TalkSport, that Rajar is dragging its heels in introducing electronic measurement.

Rajar managing director Sally de la Bedoyere says the body’s decision on measurement is vital to overseas radio operators because the UK has the most developed market in the world and is forging ahead in digital transmission.

Joan Warner, chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia, the Australian national commercial broadcasters’ body, says: “The future of radio audience measurement will be electronic, but timing is key.” She adds that to “prematurely” commission a device would be “foolhardy and irresponsible”.

Vice-president of policy and research at the Association of Canadian Advertisers Bob Reaume adds: “Advertisers are watching Rajar’s developments closely.

“They need to know that the money they spend on radio advertising is invested wisely, and that means based on reliable measurement techniques.”

Rajar is to invest &£500,000 in further testing of the enhanced Arbitron Personal People Meter and GfK wristwatch technology this autumn. It hopes to go live with electronic measurement in late 2006 to early 2007.

However, the Wireless Group is suing Rajar for &£66m in lost earnings, claiming Rajar’s decision not to introduce electronic measurement is unlawful (MW March 18).

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