Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Audience Research - The Future

Over the last 4-5 years doing audience research for music testing and perceptual studies has been an expense that has in many cases been deemed too expensive.   With the economy struggling, lots of competition from new media, and the need for every manager to cut expenses research seemed to fall off the table.   Clear Channel pretty much dismantled it's in house Critical Mass Media and left BA research on the table.  Other groups curtailed a lot of their work in studying the audience and many smaller owners also cut back.  

The reality here is that in many cases we've gone a long time guiding our ships in ever changing seas of new competition, audience evolution, and life style changes that no doubt have affected how the audience uses the product and their passion levels for it.  Now the economy is improving and perhaps we are getting ready to return to doing some audience research.

A lot has changed with a completely new measurement system in many markets.  The old sample system of using  mostly land line phones to gather the panel is suspect as so many people have turned off their land lines for cell phones.  Even Arbitron is using different systems to gather the sample to include non or limited land line participants in all markets.  We also have new opportunities using the internet for research that we have only done a few experiments with.

Much of our perceptual research in the past was built completely on recall behavior.  After all our whole game in the diary days was built on recall.  It really didn't matter if they really listened to our morning show every day, if they had high recall and impressions of the show we often got credit for listening.  If they could remember it to write it down - game over.  Making the impression still matters a lot, but we also need them to listen.

It's time to scrap the old questionnaires, the old auditorium tests, and the call out studies and come up with some new systems to find answers to new questions.  But, is anyone up for the experimentation it's going to take?  Over the next 10 days let's take a look at some opportunities to remodel our research here - I'll be bringing in some ideas and thoughts, but if you have any please feel free to contribute with your comments.  

First up - The Sample in just a few days.  


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