Research Director, Inc. Calls For Third-Party Review Of Voltair's Ratings Impact
July 30, 2015 at 10:56 AM (PT)
As the NIELSEN/VOLTAIR controversy rages on, THE RESEARCH DIRECTOR posted its own analysis on its website. Weighing both pros, cons and those in the middle, Partner MARC GREENSPAN called for a third-party review to see if there's fire behind all the smoke.
After citing the bullet points from NIELSEN's webinar and noticing that the ratings service didn't actually evaluate where VOLTAIR actually impacts ratings, THE RESEARCH DIRECTOR took it upon itself to do just that. "We have looked at the pre and post-VOLTAIR meter exposure for several stations," GREENSPAN wrote. "We have seen more, sometimes considerably more, exposure by meter keepers after VOLTAIR was installed. This has resulted in significant ratings increases. Is this actual listening that the meter was missing, or is the meter now picking up watermarks for audio that could not be heard by the human ear? We at RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC. do not know the answer to this important question.
"... In our opinion, there is a disconnect between the findings reported by NIELSEN and the actual ratings impact that people in the industry claim to see after VOLTAIR is installed," he continued. "NIELSEN said that the main impact of VOLTAIR is in high background noise situations. If this is the main benefit then a lot of radio listening is happening in noisy situations. That seems unlikely since we know that a large portion of radio listening happens in the car (and we don’t think road noise qualifies here). The other possible answer is that VOLTAIR does have some other incremental benefit in order to give the results that stations claim to see."
GREENSPAN then mentioned RANDY KABRICH'S yeoman work on his AQH ratings analysis that found little if any ratings boost from VOLTAIR use, but refrained from endorsing his conclusions by noting, "As was stated earlier, AQH ratings change for many reasons. By using all stations rather than just stations that installed Voltair, the effect of Voltair (if any) is being watered down by the stations that did not install it.
"Let’s be clear, in the end RANDY might be right. But there is enough empirical and anecdotal data to say that the investigation is ongoing. There is too much at stake for our industry. An independent, third-party review of a lot more data is needed. More transparency about the analysis that was performed is needed. More cooperation is needed from stations that have installed VOLTAIR. In order to foster that cooperation, NIELSEN needs to do what it takes to allow stations to feel comfortable about admitting they are using VOLTAIR."