Audience Ratings: Radio, Television, and Cable

By Hugh Malcolm Beville Jr. | Go to book overview
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9
Government Intervention

I. INTRODUCTION

Industry discontent with local syndicated rating services grew during the mid 1950s. It stemmed from a deep-seated skepticism about the techniques used and, in some cases, the integrity of rating companies. Television and radio station owners felt that the advancing importance and use of ratings, which in effect put a value on their broadcast properties, was counter to their interests. Furthermore, the rating results differed so much from one service to another that some investigation was warranted.

Stanley Breyer, manager of radio station KJBS, San Francisco, ran a full- page advertisement in the July 3, 1950 issue of Broadcasting-Telecasting to highlight the troublesome problem. He proposed a test to determine whether either Hooper or Pulse were measuring radio audiences accurately. 1 Breyer's initiative brought about the organization of a Special Test Survey Committee by the National Association of Broadcasters. This committee's specifications for a comprehensive study, estimated to cost $140,000, produced no results.

The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), meanwhile, found strong interest by advertisers and agencies in methodological research into various ratings techniques. In July 1952 the ARF Committee began its deliberations, the only tangible result of which was publication in 1954 of Recommended Standards for Radio and Television Audience Size Measurements. The most significant recommendations from the ARF Radio-TV Committee, chaired by Dr. Lawrence Deckinger, Director of Research at Biow-Bern-Toigo, were that set tuning should be the basic measurement and that anyone in the room with a set on be counted in the audience. The committee's design of test specifications met the same dismal fate as the earlier NAB proposal.

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