Commercial Radio Australia has announced a significant shift in measuring radio listening behavior: the rollout in Sydney of the first panel participants to wear electronic watch meters. The GfK MediaWatch uses audio matching to identify when wearers listen to a radio station. The devices also feature heat and motion sensors to confirm the participant is wearing the watch. Australia will be one of the first markets globally to introduce the GfK wearable technology as part of a new hybrid measurement system announced last year.
Other cities will join in — Melbourne in the coming weeks, then Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth — as further shipments of the specialist hardware arrive in the country. In total, 2,000 consumers will wear the watches, spread across panels in the five major metro markets.
Work is also underway to collect live streaming data from radio station websites, apps and player server logs. The information from the watches will help calibrate the streaming data to ensure its accuracy and remove the potential for double-counting as listeners use multiple devices and apps to listen.
The industry plans to release audited live streaming audience figures for the first time later this year as part of the regular radio surveys.
“We’re extremely excited to be moving ahead with GfK and the multimillion-dollar transformation of the radio ratings system,” CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner said. “Digital listening is growing at pace, and advertiser interest is high. Through these changes, the industry will have for the first time a single source for live streaming data that is uniform and consistent across all the major commercial radio networks.”
Australia’s radio ratings system is usually based on a representative sample of 60,000 consumers annually using a paper or electronic listening diary to record what stations they listen to. The transition to a multi-mode or hybrid methodology will see data collected through a combination of diaries, live streaming data to provide a direct connection to digital audiences, and the use of watch meters.