Sport 927 in Court for Ratings' 'Damages' | radioinfo

Sport 927 in Court for Ratings' 'Damages'

Wednesday 21 April, 2004

Melbourne's Sport 927, fresh from its victory over ratings' reporting policy, returns to the Federal Court again today to pursue a claim for damages.

The station went to court last month, claiming it had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue, after learning from radioinfo that it was no longer listed by name in survey diaries, as of Survey #1 of 2004, yet was still listed in the results with every other listed station.

The move saw Commercial Radio Australia change its ratings' reporting policy. And, in the recent Survey #2 results, any audience share figures for Sport 927 were not published by Nielsen Media Research, which was also required to issue a public statement about the methodology used in Survey #1.

Sport 927 (formerly 3UZ) had been surveyed using the same methodology as when they were participants in the ratings' system. Under the new methodology, introduced this year, listeners had to write in non-participating stations' names every quarter hour, making it harder for these stations to capture their listening in the same way as others.

Late last month, Sport 927 chief, Noel Crowe told radioinfo: "when we first heard about this from radioinfo we were astounded. Many independent people have told us that they think the Nielsen strategy of no longer listing Sport 927 by name in the survey book is flawed.

"Measuring us by unprompted recall is not a level playing field and our lawyers have advised us that there is an element of misleading and deceptive conduct involved.

"It gives our competitors a chance to paint a poor picture of us in the market place. Our lawyers plan to keep pursuing this until we get a result to all three of our concerns.

"We were seeking resolution of three matters and they have responded only to the first. We are still waiting on a response to the other issues we raised, namely written acknowledgement that the Survey #1 results were flawed and also damages for lost revenue."

Crowe said the station’s result of 0.6 %, down more than half of its previous survey figure, reflected the changed methodology and not the effect of new competitor SEN: "It’s very unlikely there was any effect from SEN – our research is showing that their breakfast show is affecting Triple M and 3AW most and may have a marginal effect on us but, when we go to racing after 9am, there is no overlap in their audience and ours."

Sport 927’s Newspoll survey conducted during January and February this year gave the station a cumulative audience of 327 000 people aged 18-plus throughout Victoria, with 221 000 in Melbourne.

When Bill Caralis was asked last month for his comments on developments, his spokesman, Bob Scott, told radioinfo: "2SM asked to be deleted from the survey last year when they withdrew from the Sydney survey and the station’s position hasn’t changed.

Crowe believes Australia should have moved to an electronic survey system: "when the UK went to electronic measurement, the TalkSport station went from 1.8m weekly listeners in the old diary system to 6.6m -- a 250% difference!"

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