I’ll bet the first thing that springs to mind when I mention that name Nielsen is TV ratings. (Just wait for it, you’ll see how Kentucky fits in, I promise.) I would also be willing to bet that the majority of readers are unaware of the fact that Nielsen has been measuring radio audiences all over the planet for better than 60 years, just not here in the United States.
That’s all about to change. Those of you keeping an eye on the industry news last November might recall the announcement that the iconic ratings company was taking the plunge into the American radio market. A market, I might add, that Arbitron has held undisputed dominance of for decades.
We are now one step closer to the program going live; Nielsen’s pilot study and trial went on earlier this month. Between December 4 – 10, Lexington, KY, ran the trial in preparation for the March – April 2009 survey. Public release of the findings is expected sometime in February.
Address-based sampling will be the methodology used. Like their TV ratings system, participants will keep a diary of their listening habits from which the survey results will be drawn.
Paul Heine of Mediaweek (a publication that has Nielsen as its parent company) gives us some perspective:
[…] Nielsen plans to employ larger sample sizes than Arbitron offers in comparably sized markets, which Nielsen Media Research managing director for North America Lorraine Hadfield says will reduce ratings “bounce,” a primary concern voiced by Cumulus and Clear Channel, who have inked deals for the service. For example, Nielsen ratings for Columbia, Mo., with a market population of 127,500, will be based on a sample size of 1,200 diaries, while Macon, Ga., (population: 280,700) will get 2,200 diaries.
It will be very interesting when the results of the March – April sweep are finished.