The Asociación para la Investigación de Medios de Comunicación (AIMC) is installing a new radio consumption measurement system, on which the General Media Study (EGM) is based, which more accurately contemplates the live broadcast online audience index.
This organisation detected a few months ago the need to modernise its metrics model, taking into account the progressive increase in the number of listeners who listen to live radio on the Internet. This figure now stands at 20% and is expected to increase further in the coming years. This methodological modernisation work fell to ODEC, the IT services company dedicated to market research, after it was selected in the middle of last year in a competition organised by AIMC.
Until now, the audience of live online radio listeners has been measured by queries asking respondents about listening recall, i.e. the system used for the measurement of traditional radio consumption, which will remain unchanged.
From this quarter onwards, the new waves of the EGM will include in their results the results compiled by a “census audimeter”, which will make it possible to identify profiles of live online radio listeners, their consumption habits or devices used through a new methodology, presented yesterday at the event organised by the Spanish Association of Commercial Radio Broadcasting, on the occasion of World Radio Day, held in Madrid.
The director general of AIMC, Miguel Ángel Fontán, explained that this information is fed by all the data they receive daily from the broadcasters’ web servers.
Once the raw information has been obtained, the meters work on a process of “cleaning and standardisation agreed by all the channels” to find and classify sessions, a concept that refers to uninterrupted listening time of more than 60 seconds.
In this phase, Fontán explained, it is possible to identify the devices that have consumed live radio via the Internet and a profile of their users. The last step is to include this data in the total audience calculation.
Although the final result is the one shown in the EGM quarterly reports, its promoters stress that this “census audimeter” can offer – for the moment only to the channels – minute-by-minute data and more detailed analyses to understand, for example, why a particular station registers a peak in audience on the Internet at a given moment. In other words, a system similar to that offered by television meters.
This model, according to the CEO of ODEC, Luis Pistoni, represents a qualitative leap in measurement, as it offers “more accurate information” to broadcasters and “a more accurate evaluation of results” for advertisers.
Although this methodological innovation is a step forward in the estimation of radio audiences, AIMC recognises that it is not enough. In fact, they plan to gradually include new improvements related to the measurement of deferred radio listeners; a subject still pending, demanded by the main broadcasters.
Carlos Herrera: “I always wonder how the EGM is calculated and when it will incorporate new technologies”.
One of the most worrying moments for broadcasters are the hours before the publication of the EGM results, the official indicator of listener loyalty. This was admitted by the iconic presenters of the three most listened-to stations in Spain. For the first time in history, La SER, COPE and ONDA CERO broadcast their programmes simultaneously yesterday to offer a twenty-minute talk on radio, held by Àngels Barceló -director of Hoy por hoy-, Carlos Alsina -head of Más de Uno- and Carlos Herrera -Herrera en COPE-.
The latter admitted about the EGM that “I always wonder how it does the calculation and when it is going to incorporate new technologies”. He regrets that occasionally they ask if they listen to certain stations in municipalities where there is not much coverage. Herrera – who directs the second most listened programme according to this study, behind Barceló – added that “I am very happy” to see that the AIMC is going to implement improvements in this regard.
Regarding the minute-by-minute analysis that the AIMC will offer the channels on live web listeners, Barceló acknowledges that he sees it “as a danger. I have experienced this on television and there is a risk of making a programme thinking more about audience data than about what is of interest”. Alsina joked that, with this system, “we won’t be able to interview trade unionists”.
Credibility and profitability
Radio continues to be the medium that inspires the most credibility (for 45% of the population), ahead of the press (37%), television (32%), the internet (20%) and social networks (12%), according to the European Commission’s Eurobarometer 2022.
It is also one of the most profitable for advertisers, according to data documented by Media Hot Line. For every euro they invest in channels, they obtain a return of €4.9. Moreover, advertising investment in this medium – at €416 million – grew in Spain three times more than the average – 7.7% compared to 2.5%, to €6,523 million.