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Radio Ratings Revamp

The first panel participants to wear electronic watch meters to capture their radio listening have been recruited in Sydney, industry body Commercial Radio Australia said today in an update on the rollout of the new GfK Radio360 audience measurement system.

The panel members will wear the GfK MediaWatch, which uses audio matching to identify when wearers are listening to a radio station.  The devices are also equipped with heat and motion sensors to confirm the watch is being worn.

Participants will be selected for the Melbourne panel in coming weeks, and building of panels in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth will begin as further shipments of the specialist hardware arrive in the country later in the year.

Australia will be one of the first markets in the world to introduce the use of the GfK wearable technology as part of a new hybrid measurement system announced last year.

Work is also underway to enable the collection of live streaming data from radio station websites, apps and player server logs. 

The information from the watches will be used to calibrate the streaming data to ensure its accuracy and remove the potential for double counting as listeners use multiple devices and apps to listen.

The industry plans to release audited live streaming audience figures for the first time later this year as part of the regular radio surveys.

“We’re extremely excited to be moving ahead with GfK and the multimillion-dollar transformation of the radio ratings system,” CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner said.

“Digital listening is growing at pace and advertiser interest is high. Through these changes, the industry will have for the first time a single source for live streaming data that is uniform and consistent across all the major commercial radio networks.

“This will provide clarity on the size and profile of radio’s growing streaming audiences and help the networks and advertisers realise the significant opportunities in this area.”

The radio ratings system has been based on a representative sample of 60,000 consumers annually using a paper or electronic listening diary to record what stations they listen to. The transition to a multi-mode or hybrid methodology will see data collected through a combination of diaries, live streaming data to provide a direct connection to digital audiences, and the use of watch meters.  In total, 2,000 consumers will wear the watches, spread across panels in the five major metro markets.

The modernisation of the measurement system is designed to better capture radio’s growing audiences who increasingly listen across multiple devices.  Radio streaming has surged over the past two years with more listeners tuning in via smartphone apps, websites and smart speakers.

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