Magazine article Marketing

Research Can No Longer Afford to Fall Behind Media

Magazine article Marketing

Research Can No Longer Afford to Fall Behind Media

Article excerpt

Any moment now we can expect a sudden surge of interest in media research. The reason is clear; the new BARB contract is due to take effect in 1998 and given the amount of debate and discussion that typically surrounds this event, I would estimate that now is about the time for all interested parties to fix the concerned expression firmly in place, dust off that old statistics textbook and enter the fray.

The perennial problem faced by those responsible for the commissioning and running of BARB (and the NRS and all the other media research studies) is in generating sufficient debate among the end users of the data in time for their views to have any impact on the final survey.

Naturally, the issuing of a new industry media research contract is a major event for media research experts and a great deal of discussion takes place over the finer points of the technical specification. Quite right too: it's most important that these studies are as sound technically as it is possible for them to be. There is a great deal of money riding on the results, and a minor technical imperfection can finish up costing a media owner a substantial amount of revenue.

So where is the rest of the industry when it's time to debate fundamental policy issues such as what we should ask researchers to measure?

It has been said that media practitioners know what they want from industry media research until you ask them. What they want is inevitably what the industry inexplicably fails to give them, year in year out. …

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