BBC Radio has slammed the new Rajar measurement system and is calling
for a return to the old diary system until a workable alternative is
An emergency Rajar board meeting has been set for this week in an
attempt to thrash out the problems with the new methodology, highlighted
by the latest batch of Rajar results released last Friday.
The industry has been split by the latest figures, for the last quarter
of 1995, which do not compare like with like owing to the new
measurement methods in use.
Last Friday Rajar’s chief executive, Roger Gane, went so far as to warn
the industry against using the figures for detailed analysis of
stations’ performance, as the changes may have ‘distorted trends’.
Campaign now understands the BBC is lobbying to reintroduce the old
measurement system. The commercial radio sector is believed to be happy
with the new Personal Pre-List Diary (PPD) system, but may accept a
return to the old method providing the BBC alters its numerous marketing
areas which no longer fit on to the old diary sheets.
The row initially blew up last November following changes to the diary
methodology. The new PPD method replaced pre-listed services with a
sheet of labels from which respondents created their own list.
However, early results revealed weekly reach for almost all stations was
much lower than that measured under the old system because lighter
listeners weren’t being picked up.
Denise Clark, head of radio at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, said: ‘We were
led to believe that total listening was down, but this suggests it has
gone up. We’re none the wiser.’
Top-line results indicate that the total number of listeners to radio
was up, from 40.4 million to 40.6 million.