Cumulus Waves Bye To Arbitron In Markets 100+ ... Is Clear Channel Supporting? Pierre Bouvard Responds
April 14, 2008 at 5:51 AM (PT)
CUMULUS COO JOHN DICKEY has invited qualified vendors to submit proposals to CUMULUS for a new service designed to measure both quantitative and qualitative audience characteristics for its stations in markets 100+.
As of JANUARY 1st, 2009, CUMULUS will no longer subscribe to the ARBITRON RADIO MARKET REPORTS currently published in 50 of these markets.
"We reached the point where CUMULUS recognizes that there is only one way to close the growing gap between needs of its stations/advertisers in these markets and the state of audience measurement -- and that is to initiate a fundamentally new approach," the company said in a statement. "As the underwriter of this effort, we will take the leadership role in solution design and vendor selection.
We have reached the point where Cumulus recognizes that there is only one way to close the growing gap between needs of its stations/advertisers in these markets and the state of audience measurement -- and that is to initiate a fundamentally new approach
"Among other things, we will require this to be a stand-alone, turn-key service," the statement continued. CUMULUS will be its first customer, but the service must function as an independent, objective entity that is accountable to and can provide ongoing support for the larger broadcast and advertising communities. Our plan is to work closely with leading researchers, other broadcast organizations and advertisers to design a system that is credible, accurate and comprehensive -- both today and in the future."
"We've been studying the issue for some time now and our conversations with other major stakeholders have been very encouraging -- we agree on most, if not all, of the major issues."
CUMULUS has posted the Request For Proposal (RFP) on its website at ratingsrfp.cumulus.com.
ALLACCESS hears that CLEAR CHANNEL is supporting this CUMULUS RFP.
Arbitron's Pierre Bouvard Responds
ARBITRON Pres./Sales and Marketing PIERRE BOUVARD immediately issued this response:
"We welcome the initiative announced today by CUMULUS MEDIA INC. to enhance the tools that radio broadcasters in markets 100+ need to compete for local ad dollars. Our mission has always been to serve broadcasters in all markets with audience measurement that is useful, reliable, effective and credible."
"For the past year, we have been working with our SMALL MARKET OWNERS AND OPERATORS CAUCUS, THE RADIO ADVISORY COUNCIL DIARY MARKET SUBCOMMITTEE, and former RAB Pres. small-market veteran GARY FRIES to better align our priorities with those of radio’s "Main Street markets."
"This RFP is one more valuable source of marketplace input that confirms what we’ve already heard from small market broadcasters. They are telling us they need:
* more relevant measures of the local retail clout of radio station audiences;
* enhanced sample sizes and improved sample quality;
* more training to leverage the services and data we provide.
"It is important to establish challenging goals and aggressive schedules. But the radio industry has seen before that it is even more important to work with a company that has the track record, resources and expertise to actually deliver an enhanced audience-measurement service."
"We intend to use our years of experience to build an enhanced service on a schedule and at a level of quality that no other research organization will be able to match. Already, we have taken the first steps:
* This FALL, we are introducing new and improved qualitative questions in the back of the diary. This is our direct response to requests from broadcasters for enhanced consumer and retail profiles of radio station listeners.
* We are already working with our partners at SCARBOROUGH RESEARCH, which announced last month that they will evaluate opportunities to expand their industry-leading qualitative research to more mid-tier markets.
* Last FALL, we increased sample sizes in 42 small and medium markets by an average of 30%.
* TOM O’SULLIVAN, whom we appointed to oversee our efforts in diary markets, is already developing enhanced training and education programs that will help broadcasters get the maximum value from their research investment.
"This is only the beginning of our efforts. Radio broadcasters know they have work to do to win a bigger share of national and local ad dollars in markets large and small. We know that we need to provide our customers with audience measurement services that deliver the largest return on investment possible.
"Just as the industry’s RFP for electronic measurement helped propel the commercialization of the Portable People Meter, we hope the industry will harness the energy of the CUMULUS RFP to help us deliver better audience measurement services for small-market broadcasters."