BRC and Ipsos to ensure that RAMS is future-ready

The Broadcast Research Council (BRC) of South Africa is pleased to announce that, after a managed and fair RFP process to ensure that the Radio Audience Measurement Survey (RAMS) is future-ready, Ipsos, the world’s third largest market research company present in 90 markets, has been awarded the contract which will run for the next five years.

“In addition to the changing media landscape and consumer habits, the international pandemic and our own lockdown regulations accelerated the clear need for the Radio Listenership currency to be future-ready,” says Gary Whitaker, CEO at the Broadcast Research Council (BRC) of South Africa. “The past RAMS study was solely based on face-to-face methods and a manual seven-day diary that would be filled out by respondents. Data was released every quarter. This had to change. Not only is it imperative that we provide a currency that is resilient in the face of any external factors but it also vital that we track both linear and non-linear listening and report more frequently with deeper insights that benefit all stakeholders”

Pitch consultants, IAS, were appointed to manage the RFP process, ensuring that a structured and fair process was followed.

The RFP was run in the true spirit of collaboration with the inclusion of as many sectors as possible on the RFP Briefing and Judging Committees. The broadcasters appointed members with varied roles inside their own organisations ranging from research to programming to commercial sales. Community radio was represented by members of the MDDA (Media Development and Diversity Agency) and NCRF (National Community Radio Forum) as well as The Media Connection. The AMF (Advertising Media Forum) appointed a representative as did the MRF (Marketing Research Foundation).

“I found the RAM RFP process to be very well managed, fair and transparent and the calibre and quality of proposals that were received made for an exciting but challenging evaluation process,” says Johann Koster, CEO of the MRF. “Broadening the scope to the measurement of audio listening, as opposed to just traditional radio listening, is an exciting development which should assist planners and strategists to form a much clearer picture of audiences’ listening behaviour and consumption patterns across the different audio platforms.”

The BRC’s latest research partner, Ipsos, will introduce a multi-methodological approach, integrating passive measurement and live telephonic interviews that will keep up with the pace of technology and how people listen to radio. The Broadcasters are looking for a reliable media currency and for deeper insights on how listening habits are changing.

The new methodology will be structured into two parts – firstly, 3 000 CATI (Computer Aided Telephonic Interviews) will be conducted monthly (36 000 per year and nationally representative) providing audience measurement in 15-minute segments, along with audience tracking on radio events and roadshows. The programme will cover 280 stations (commercial, African language and community). Secondly, a MediaCell Passive Listening Panel will measure linear broadcast and digital consumption of 4 000 panellists weekly, with minute-by-minute tracking of activities.

Nick Coates, Country Manager for Ipsos South Africa, said: “We need to lead the charge where agility to deliver reliable research and innovative technologies drive the advancement of our clients. Our innovative passive measurement technology, MediaCell, provides a first in Sub-Saharan Africa. Whilst its use of audio matching and online metering to track audiences and their journeys is a future-ready approach. All of this will provide broadcasters, media agencies and advertisers the robust and representative data they require.”

Whitaker concludes, “It has been an incredible process and has been overdue for quite some time. I would like to thank all that submitted their RFP’s, IAS for managing the process and the many agencies from our industry sectors that collaborated on the RFP Briefing and Judging Committees.

The BRC looks forward to the projected first release of CATI data as early as the end of Q2 2021.”

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