It has only been a day that Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) has been made live and various kinds of comments are coming to fore on the research methodology already. Radio Mirchi has been very vocal in its comments against RAM’s use of the diary methodology. Radio Today, too, is echoing similar sentiments.
Gilroy A Tills, Senior VP and Head, National Impact, Radio Today (which airs radio brand Meow FM), said that RAM was too new a research for anyone to place their monies on it. Echoing a point that Prashant Panday, CEO, Radio Mirchi, had made regarding the data findings that showed a higher listenership number for Mumbai in comparison to Delhi, Tills remarked, “This is an anomaly. Delhi has traditionally seen more listeners. There are many more cars in Delhi than Mumbai, and even though the travel time in Mumbai is also high, local transport there don’t allow radio listenership the way a car does.”
Another problem that Tills pointed out was the static panel. He said, “RAM would use the same panel to get the data for a one-year period, and hence, the people with the same media habits. In essence, except for the instances where there might be some marketing initiative, the radio listenership pattern would be the same from this panel. A variable sample makes more sense.”
“I also disagree with the numbers that the data has shown about the time that listeners are spending on Meow FM. We get over 600 calls every day from our listeners, who wait for at least 17 minutes to get through. Over 1,500 women in Delhi paid to be part of the Meow Walk-a-thon. The RAM numbers don’t reflect our on-ground experiences such as these at all,” added Tills.
Tills is against all radio research in India at present per se – Indian Listenership Track being the second one that uses the Day-After-Recall method. He maintained, “We need electronic research in India, not manual.”
Manish Porwal, MD, South and West, Starcom Worldwide, agreed with Tills regarding radio research in India. He said, “One thing I’m sure of is that each currency currently thought of in radio is extremely retro and basic. The industry needs to wake up to new methods that are futuristic. One of them could be using mobiles for online, periodic data collection. I think India is in the position to take that pioneering step.”
Interestingly, however, when asked whether Starcom Worldwide would use RAM for its clients, Porwal replied that in all likelihood it would. Lodestar Universal COO, Nandini Dias, also said that the agency would use RAM. She said, “We have gone though the package and how it works, and we see no reason why we should not use the data. This is a progressive step for the radio industry per se. Measurement and accountability in any medium by way of organised research increases the chances of investing more in that medium.”
Sundar Raman, MD, North and East, MindShare, agreed with that. He said, “MindShare would be using RAM. We need a measurement for radio and it is the closest to any form of structured research that we could get in this point in time. RAM is a welcome measure.”
TME Vice-President, Divya Radhakrishnan, also said that the agency would be using RAM, but only if the pricing of the research was in line with what the agency spent on the radio medium. She said, “The idea of RAM is better than any other research that we may have in radio at present. RAM is weekly data and that is a welcome step. However, we are yet to negotiate with RAM. The final decision really depends on the pricing.”
Most experts stated that the fact that RAM was a weekly data worked in the favour of this research significantly. With advertisers increasing their spends in advertising, the more research and insights there would be, the more accountable the medium would become. Logically, at least, this would lead to more investments in the medium itself.
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