ACNielsen ORG-MARG Radio Audience Measurement study has declared The sixth wave's findings. Nothing short of creating waves in the radio fraternity with its previous findings, this wave too draws diverse reactions. RAM places Radio City as Mumbai's No. 1 radio station. City is satisfied but Mirchi complains that severe issues with RAM's design continue.
If the fifth wave saw problems between ACNielsen and Mirchi, the sixth has accentuated it. "We never talked about RAM because we never accepted it," states Prashant Panday, COO, Radio Mirchi, "Only three out of five stations buy it and 99% of the agencies don't buy it. This shows that the industry has not accepted it as a credible measurement."
On the other hand, Sumantra Dutta, COO, Radio City remarks, "RAM is the only independent syndicated industry study. It is a focussed radio listenership research. Every station is on the technical committee of RAM."
"RAM has a few design problems. The predicament actually lies with radio as a category, where recall based study is dangerous. More than the station they listen to, people remember recent campaigns. It has to be substantiated with a coincidental study to give it more credibility," explains Panday.
As per Panday, there are a few fundamental errors with RAM. He says that where the study states that 52 lakh is the average daily listenership, when the data is segregated, in weekdays, Saturday and Sunday, the numbers add up to give this figure. "The study makes you believe that while on a weekday there are 31 lakh listeners, on a weekend there are around 10 lakhs. Anyone who knows research will tell you that that is an error."
Mirchi raised this point with ACNielsen in wave five as well. Panday remarks that the research agency explained that this was a sampling and a projection issue. "We rejected that explanation. It doesn't make sense," he expresses.
Speaking more about the car research that Mirchi keeps citing, he elucidates, "I agree that it's a small component of radio listenership but at least the sample there is a 2 to 3 per cent as compared to 2000 for 52 lakh. Even if the comparison is made on those many numbers, in car research we have constantly beaten City. At one point the difference came to 50 per cent. Even now we are ahead by 40 per cent. That gives some figures to Mirchi. Now it cannot be that people listen to one station in the house and other in the car."
Following The fifth wave's findings, City and Mirchi went to town with different announcements. City spoke about RAM figures and its leadership there and Mirchi ran its 'More Music, less talk' campaign citing figures like that of car listenership.
Dutta comments, "As broadcasters, radio should behave responsibly. You must inform the consumer correctly. For two waves now that is a stretch of four months continuously, City is blowing Mirchi out of the water. The data is there for everyone to see. There is no sense in challenging this syndicated data now. By the end of March it will be available for Delhi market as well."
Dutta is excited at a different level. He expresses, "The entire City team is very elated. These results just mean that the audience has chosen us as their favourite station and ultimately it is the audience that counts."
A few findings of the research as per Dutta are that City has yet again recorded the highest top of mind awareness with a 35 per cent across genders, age groups 12-44 yrs and all SECs, while Mirchi follows at 21 per cent. The station also claims that in these parameters, it also leads in listenership in the 6am-12am slot with 24 lakhs listeners against Mirchi's 21 lakhs.
Panday, nonetheless has more to say, "The advertising verdict is clear. The daily average of our secondage is 3000 while City is only 1500 to 1700. If City's inventories have lowered itself to this level, it is obvious what advertisers think. We claim a revenue share of 58 per cent in Delhi and in Mumbai a 46 per cent."
Clearly RAM is not something that has Mirchi going. Panday also expresses that the station has requested the involvement of MRUC and the active participation of ACNielsen's senior management in the research. The study has completed a year with Wave 6. Going forward ACNielsen ORG MARG will continue to do the study but under the guidance of MRUC.
All said, City is beaming, "We have beaten others but what I am really happy about is the radio listenership growth. Research findings indicate a ten percent growth, which means radio as a category is growing at an exponential pace." Dutta is indeed satisfied and once again, he has every reason to be.