Aliens create a research row in Perth | radioinfo

Aliens create a research row in Perth

Sunday 17 August, 2003
Have aliens captured Gary Roberts' audience?

Nova Perth has ignited a row over the accuracy of the sample in some segments of the most recent radio ratings results, and has requested an audit.

In a press release after the survey Nova said:


“In an extraordinary change of listening patterns, never before experienced on earth, 6IX increased the listening of Males 18 to 24 by 284% - from just over 4 hours to nearly 16 hours per week!! This resulted in 6IX leaping from 9th position to Number 1 in Time Spent Listening, knocking the dominant NOVA 93.7 from the Number 1 position to 9th. Obviously an alien lifeforce has taken over Perth’s 18 to 24 year old males…”

The 18-24 year old males segment of the ratings has just over 110 people in it, a sample size that has been the standard for many years. This survey Nova dropped by 10.3 share points in that 18-24 demographic. The Survey Period was Sunday May 11 to Saturday June 14 and Sunday June 29 to Saturday August 2, 2003.

In trying to track how the change happened Nova has found what it believes to be other anomalies - 6IX increased dramatically in that demographic and Radio National increased its Time Spent Listening (TSL) dramatically. This has led Nova GM Gary Roberts to ask some hard questions about the research methodology. Others in the market believe that the “honeymoon period is over” for Nova and now they’ve got to just work a little harder.

Nielsen Media’s Peter Cornelius does not believe there is anything wrong with the figures saying that the small group of 18-24 year-old males referred to by Nova may well have been listening to 6IX at work.

Rival Austereo General Manager Linda Wayman told radioinfo Nova has raised a “Red Herring, which shouldn’t be a big issue” by complaining. “They are grasping at straws… the figures are credible and the methodology is consistent with past surveys,” she said.

Gary Roberts explained the details what he has found to radioinfo:

“Survey 5 produced a result that has some extraordinary anomalies. Since the launch of Nova 93.7 we have totally dominated the 18-34 demographic. Yet in just one survey, listening patterns in Perth changed dramatically for no apparent reason. For Nova 93.7, there are two major issues and what you need to remember when assessing this is that time spent listening drives share.

Nova 93.7’s share of males 18-24 dropped by two thirds from 32.1% to 10.5%, while female 18-24 share grew from 17.0% to 19.3% . This was as a result of our male 18-24 TSL dropping from 16.40 hours to 6.17 hours, which was in total contrast to female 18-24 TSL, which grew from 8.3 hours to 9.11 hours.

Nova 93.7’s share of females 25-34 dropped from 11.7% to 7.1%, in contrast to the male share which rose from 13.9% to 17.5%. Female 25-34 TSL dropped from 8.26 hours to 4.15 hours, while male TSL 25-34 rose from 11.2 hours to 12.44 hours.

What we have witnessed in survey 5 with males 18-24 and females 25-34 is an extraordinary change in listening patterns. In TSL we now have the bizarre situation where the no.1 station male 10-17 in TSL is Radio National, which increased from 0.14 hours to an extraordinary 38.11 hours. In the 18-24 demographic, 6IX, an “AM” station predominately playing 60’s / 70’s music, has jumped from the no.9 position in TSL to no.1, rising from 4.04 hours to 15.53 hours and radio national has also jumped from the number 8 to number 1 TSL position with females 25-34 rising from 4.07 hours to an amazing 18.11 hours.

And it’s not just in these demos that we have seen some bizarre TSL figures, i.e. Nova’s TSL. for all people 60-64 increased from 0.3 hours per week to 9.48 hours!

It gets even more bizarre when you break the TSL down by geographic region, for example: with males 18-24 the TSL for 6IX in the south / south east region leapt from 2.58 hours to a massive 21.56 hours per week, and in the same region for 6PR, they increased from 0 hours to 14.31 hours per week.. With 25-34 females in the south west region, their listening increased from 0 hours to an astonishing 41.57 hours per week to Radio National.

Clearly, some alien life form in the southern regions has taken Nova 93.7’s 18-24 male listeners and force-fed them a diet of 60’s music and Nova 93.7’s females 25-34 and force fed them a diet of Radio National.

We are not questioning the Nielsen Media Research methodology, but what we are questioning the sample, particularly males 18-24 and females 25-34.

We will hopefully receive the results of an audit within the next week.

Unfortunately we will not see the impact of these anomalies resolved until the release of survey #8/03 on December 9, 2003, due to the nature of the rolling survey methodology used by Nielsen Media Research.

In the meantime, we are asking agencies and clients to trust their ears, use common sense and beware of any alien life forms, particularly if they live in the southern suburbs of Perth!

I’ve also attached two graphs, which clearly show the TSL change from survey 4 to survey 5 for males 18-24 and females 25-34."

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