FAQ`s about the NAB and Audience Research
Q: When does the NAB’s resignation from the South African Audience Research Foundation (SAARF) become effective?
A: The resignation from SAARF comes into effect on 1 January 2015 and the National Association of Broadcasters (the NAB) remains an active member of SAARF until 31 December 2014.
Q: What is going to happen after the NAB’s resignation from SAARF?
A: The NAB will assume direct responsibility for commissioning broadcast research. Further information on the establishment of structures to manage broadcast research will be shared once the resignation from SAARF has become effective in due course. This includes wide-ranging measures to ensure the integrity and credibility of the research, the imposition of rigorous obligations on the service provider and a process of on-going and independent audits.
Q: Will the all media products survey (AMPS) come to an end at the end of 2014?
A: In considering the best interests of the media and marketing sector, the NAB initiated talks with SAARF which have resulted in a collaborative effort that will see the All Media and Products Survey (AMPS) rolled-over into 2015. The success of this collaboration is dependent upon SAARF’s key stakeholders joining the discussion and contributing funding proportionately to the continuation of AMPS into 2015 (when the NAB will no longer be a member of SAARF).
In addition, the NAB and SAARF agreed that this cannot just be a roll-over of AMPS in 2015, but that a series of workshops would be set up to ‘clean-up’ AMPS and strip it down into a streamlined survey, based on the findings from the online-survey component of the Future
Based on the NAB and SAARF’s experience, working together with service provider Nielsen in cleaning-up TAMS (in accordance with corrective recommendations made by the auditors), the broader industry now has access to reliable audience research data. A similar process will be followed with AMPS.
This initiative of the NAB will be welcomed by the media and marketing industry who are seeking continuity as well as stable and credible research on which to base marketing and advertising decisions.
Q: Will the NAB still give funds to the Media and Marketing Collection Agency (MAMCA)?
A: No, the NAB will not continue funding MAMCA. The funding agreement between the NAB and MAMCA expired at the end of December 2013. The NAB took the decision in early 2012 not to renew the MAMCA funding agreement on the same terms. The MAMCA agreement required the parties to give notice of an intention not to renew 18 months before the expiry date. Consequently, the NAB formally advised the MAMCA board of this decision in June 2012. The NAB decision resulted from the fact that the NAB members were the only remaining media owners supporting the levy system. In other words, the NAB were the last of all the industry associations to stop paying their levy to MAMCA.
Q: What will happen to the 1% levy that had been included in advertising rates?
A: With the expiration of the MAMCA funding agreement on 31 December 2013, the levy model became redundant as NAB members are directly funding broadcast research, contributing 1% of ad-revenue Only television, radio and cinema pay 1%, print and outdoor negotiate costs.
Q: How will future research be funded?
A: Post the decision to withdraw from the MAMCA funding model, the NAB have committed to funding appropriate industry research directly, mirroring the decision made by Print Media South Africa (PMSA) in 2003. A NAB Levy-Collection Committee (NAB LCC) is in place to fund SAARF and the ASA directly during 2014.
Q: Will the NAB continue to support the Advertising Standards Association (ASA)?
A: The NAB has continued making its contribution toward funding the ASA on the same terms as it had been through MAMCA, subject to the approval by the NAB LCC of ASA budgets. Due to the expiry of the funding agreement between the NAB and MAMCA at the end of 2013, the NAB LCC commenced with the direct funding of the ASA in 2014. The ASA has been funded directly by PDMSA since their resignation in 2003 from the levy collection agency (MAMCA) and the NAB has followed suit and will continue to engage with the self-regulatory body in the future.
Q: What is the NABs stance on the future of media audience measurement?
A: The NAB’s primary concern remains consistent: to improve the accuracy, quality and robustness of local media research. The NAB is committed to ensuring that all research conducted is independent and will draw on expert advice where necessary. Checks and balances will be in place and research audited as per international best practice. The members of the NAB are committing resources – funding, people and time, to achieve this goal. Challenges which may well occur throughout the process, will be overcome and the NAB remains confident that this ‘reform’’ of SA media audience measurement will result in a superior and more representative end product that will benefit media agencies, marketers and media owners. It is vital that the various parties engage actively, rather than resist the important changes required to ‘revamp’ the media research landscape, and contribute positively to the process.
Q: What is the status of the TAMS contract? A: The TAMS multi-year contract is currently in negotiation between the NAB, SAARF and the service provider, Nielsen Media Research (Nielsen)?
A: The NAB has proposed that during its resignation period from SAARF until 31 December 2014, a tri-partite contractual agreement between the NAB, SAARF and Nielsen, to manage the operation of the TAMS panel be put in place. However, once the NAB resignation becomes effective, SAARF will cease to be a party to this agreement.
To re-iterate, the research conducted by Nielsen will be overseen by the NAB and SAARF throughout 2014. The TAMS agreement will run for the next 5 years; with a tri-partite agreement between the three parties running for the duration of 2014, and then the contract continues between the still-to- be-formed Broadcasting Joint Industry Committee (JIC) and Nielsen from 2015-2019. TAMS will therefore be uninterrupted and will continue until 2019. After that a new tender will go out.
Q: What is the NAB’s view of the current state of TAMS?
A: The NAB is satisfied that the latest TAMS update implements the changes that it insisted on last year. The television broadcasters point out that adopting the recommendations from the 2013 TAMS audit will result in weighting efficiencies improving significantly from 48% to 68% (which is now in line with global best practice of 70%) and will ensure rating stability (which is essential for media planning). The upgraded TAMS first released on 3 March 2014 is greatly enhanced by the Panel expansion (which increased by 55% in size) and is now robust and representative. The TAMS Universe update includes data from the most recent Census. All coding errors have been amended and technological advancements have contributed to the accuracy of measurement.
Q: Will TAMS be independent in the future?
A: As a concrete example of their commitment to independent world-class research, the respective individual Broadcasters (SABC, e.tv and DStv Top TV?) raised concerns with SAARF relating to fluctuations, inconsistencies and anomalies in TAMS. These concerns were echoed by members of the AMF and resulted in a process, the final outcome of which has been widely acclaimed for moving TAMS forward and is of great benefit to the media and marketing industries. It was upon the Broadcasters’ insistence that there are now, for the first time, transparent and stringent KPI’s for the market research companies conducting the media audience measurement which are available for the entire industry to review.
The new TAMS, first released in March 2014, is now greatly improved with problematic weighting inconsistencies and coding errors amended. TAMS is now stable, accurate and reliable, with measures in place to ensure that it remains so. An annual audit by an international expert will ensure that TAMS remains transparent. The new technology now employed does not allow for any tampering with the data and with the recent panel expansion, TAMS is now much
more representative than it had been, not favouring any television broadcaster over another. Future research will be commissioned by Joint Industry Committees (JICs) and not Media Owner Committees (MICs). Further meetings with the AMF and other industry stakeholders have been conducted to allay concerns in this regard.
Q: Did the NAB assist with correcting the problems in TAMS?
A: Important concerns relating to fluctuations, inconsistencies and anomalies in the television audience measurement survey (TAMS) were raised by members of the NAB and the Advertising Media Forum (AMF). In response, the SAARF Board called for a formal, end-to-end audit and appointed independent firm CESP to manage the process. On completion of their comprehensive audit, CESP alerted the SAARF executive and its board to a number of flaws and inaccuracies. It was agreed that SAARF’s NAB appointed members, the SAARF executive and the TAMS service provider Nielsen Media Research, work together on the corrective recommendations made by the TAMS auditors. This process and the final outcome ensured that the broader industry has access to reliable audience research data on which to base advertising decisions.
Q: What were the main changes made to TAMS in terms of weighting and sampling?
A: The implementation of the recommendations regarding sampling and weighting from international experts Robert Ruud and Dick Dodson (brought out by the NAB) ensures that TAMS is now in line with international standards. The adjustment of the TAMS weighting regime, where each weighting variable was separated out into children aged 4-14 years and adults ages 15+, plus the correction of the RIM weighting coding error relating to the work status of children aged 4-6 years (which acted as a proxy for weight of viewing and caused instability in the housewives target market) was rectified together with the introduction of the new RIMS in March.
Q: Why was the TAMS panel expansion significant?
A: There is now a new improved TAMS Panel with the biggest ever expansion that began in September 2013 and was completed in December 2013. The number of reporting households increased by 1 122 from 1700 to 2500 (equating to 3 300 new respondents and a total reporting sample of 9 300 individuals). This ensures that the sample is now truly representative of the South African population. 107 older panellists, especially those that had been on the Panel for more than 10 years, were de-installed and replaced with new households.
The Panel was built to reflect the 16.4% increase in TV Households in metro areas, especially in Gauteng (14.6%) and the Western Cape (13.7%). The number of individuals 4+ years who have access to a working TV set in home has grown by 7% from 40.1m to 42.9m. The Panel expansion is reflective of the Total Television Households in South Africa which have increased from 12.1 million to 12.8 million (5.7% growth).
Q: What were the changes in terms of population data in the TAMS Universe update?
A: The TAMS Universe update incorporates the latest South African Census data of 2011 and is updated to the AMPS 2013A household and individual Meter Universe. This reflects the population shifts emerging from the Census and changes that have occurred in the TV audience landscape in the last year. DStv audited subscriber figures for March 2013 are now used to update the DStv Universe.
The Panel is profiled in accordance with the new population demographics and the maximum weight decreases from 99 000 to around 50 000, further contributing to daily data stability. Due to large population shifts there was a large increase in recruits from LSM 5-7 (12% or 365 new households) and Nguni language groups (17.8% or 444 new households). This has re-balanced the pay TV to non-pay TV ratio and the over representation of DStv homes has been reduced as planned. The Panel was built to reflect the 16.4% increase in TV Households in metro areas, especially in Gauteng (14.6%) and the Western Cape (13.7%). The number of individuals 4+ years who have access to a working TV set in home has grown by 7% from 40.1m to 42.9m. The Panel expansion is reflective of the Total Television Households in South Africa which have increased from 12.1 million to 12.8 million (5.7% growth).
Q: Were there any technological advances?
A: The technological enhancement of the Panel has seen all the old Eurometers replaced with Unitam meters which are able to measure all TV platforms in a multi-channel television environment: DStv, Star Sat, OpenView HD (Free satellite TV from Platco Digital and the eminent launch of DTT) and time shifting viewing. Share of TV will now be calculated as a percentage of Total TV, amongst other functions such as gaming, DVD play, PVR decoders and unreferenced stations.
Q: What was NAB’s contribution to improving TAMS?
A: The enhancement of TAMS was expedited by the NAB and television broadcasters resulting in significant improvements in the weighting regime and panel balance. Each change has gone through rigorous parallel testing to ensure integrity of the data with the new structures. The upgraded TAMS Panel is in line with the best global standards and the health and representativeness of the Panel has vastly improved. This is a ‘step change’ in data, greatly increasing the stability and robustness of the research and is a new start in Television Audience Measurement.
All the new improvements that have been made to the TAMS Panel will remain for the duration of the contract period. The contract itself has been re-worked with contributions from the three stakeholders, namely the NAB, SAARF and Nielsen. There is a new and improved TAMS from March 2014 and the industry will be able to move forward with a healthy, balanced and representative TV Audience measurement Panel in place.
Q: What the status of the RAMS contract?
A: The process to establish a new Radio Audience Survey for Broadcasters in South Africa, is gaining momentum. With the current RAMS contract (under the auspices of SAARF) coming to an end in December, the NAB are in the process of issuing a new tender. A Request for Information (RFI) will be sent out during the first half of 2014, followed by an initial screening of research companies who will submit information motivating their proficiency and suitability. Successful companies who score adequately in the RFI will be short listed and invited to submit a detailed Request for Proposals (RFP).
To ensure the smooth running of this process, the NAB has engaged the services of tender specialist Yardstick, to manage the Invitation to Tender (ITT) process and international expert Roger Gane, to provide technical input on the development and design of a new Radio Audience Research Survey. This will ensure that a robust, reputable, representative and independent Radio Audience Survey is in place for 2015.
Radio research will be commissioned through a new structure when the current radio contract ends and the NAB exits SAARF at the end of 2014. With the end result being a new Radio Currency come 2015, it was imperative for the NAB to get input from a wide array of stakeholders including their members, marketers (including MASA) and media agencies (including AMF). This is to ensure full transparency and participation in the development of the tender specifications and the resultant radio audience currency. With increased fragmentation in the radio sector and rapid advances in new technology, it is vital that the NAB remain abreast of global trends and that data is credible and trusted by stakeholders.
This process will not only ensure the independence of the tender, but will develop specifications to international standards. The NAB is committed to ensuring a fair and transparent tender process and to this end, key stakeholders, including marketers and media agencies, will be consulted for the duration of the process. This will safeguard the interests of key stakeholders and provide a robust and representative outcome. The NAB is indebted to research entities and to other stakeholders for their continued interest in this process.
Q: What is the status of the RFP for radio audience measurement research sent out in 2013?
A: On reviewing the requirements of the NAB’s initial Request for Proposal (RFP) in November 2013, the NAB subsequently decided to expand the terms of reference. Due to the importance of this process, Yardstick has been appointed to consult with stakeholders and develop and facilitate the new tender process. All interested parties who made submissions to the initial process have been notified of this decision and were requested to collect their un-opened submissions from the NAB. The NAB, with input from members of MASA and the AMF and under the guidance of Yardstick and Roger Gane, will put out an RFI, then the new RFP and the ITT in due course.
Q: Is there any further information available about the tender specialists and international expert?
A: Founded in 1988, Yardstick is an independent consultancy specialising in the provision of measurement and assurance services to the marketing and communication industry with extensive experience in the facilitation of tender and procurement processes. Yardstick ensures that clients have access to highly skilled and experienced resources as well as latest industry trends and best practice.
Yardstick has developed proprietary tools and processes to assist and guide companies through the process of selection and appointment of suitable service providers. This has been well received by the marketing and communication industry – corporate companies and agencies alike – as it enhances transparency, credibility and good corporate governance.
Roger Gane a UK based Research Consultant with extensive experience with RSMB, Ipsos Media (now MediaCT), RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research Ltd), AGB Research Group and AGB Television International.
Gane’s experience in market and media research includes the initial development of the AGB (now Kantar) TV peoplemeter services and securing RAJAR’s standing within the UK audience research community. At Ipsos Gane was responsible, technically and commercially, for the company’s contracts with RAJAR, at BARB (Broadcasters Audience Research Board) for the Establishment Survey, he contributed to the NRS (National Readership Survey - newspapers and magazines) and worked with RSMB, a specialist audience research company.
He was technical judge for IPA’s Advertising Effectiveness Awards, is the current chairman of the ASI, a European conference on developments in radio and radio audience measurement and member of the Market Research Society. He is retained as Research Consultant to the RadioCentre as their representative at technical and board meetings of RAJAR, and is involved in the development of the current system in future electronic measurement practice. Gane has also had exposure to the South African radio landscape as he was appointed by SAARF in 2013 to conduct an audit on RAMS, the current radio audience currency.
Q: What will happen to RAMS after 2014?
A: Although the RAMS contract (under the auspices of SAARF) will come to an end in December 2014, the NAB is mindful of the need to ensure stability and a smooth transition from RAMS to a new radio audience survey. The NAB will be engaging with Nielsen (service provider of RAMS) on the feasibility of extending RAMS for a limited period of time in 2015 to cater for an uninterrupted transition phase. The NAB is committed to an ongoing and credible radio currency in the interest of the entire industry.
Q: What are the NAB’s plans for future audience measurement research?
A: The NAB supports the recommendations of the ‘Future Proofing SAARF’ project team (FPS) for there to be a common industry establishment survey (ES). It is envisaged that the ES will provide the means to link all industry research through data fusion, ultimately offering a holistic solution to marketers and media agencies.
In other words, the media industry ES allows for a common point of departure and comparison of inter-media audience measurement. The audience research is conducted independently by each media sector Joint Industry Committee (JIC) and the ES ensures that all industry research uses the same population numbers, demographics, etc., as determined through the ES. The currency surveys (e.g. television’s TAMS, radio’s RAMS, print’s PAMS etc.) use the ES to draw samples which then get weighted correctly to the population.
Q: What is the establishment survey (ES) and how does it fit in with the Joint Industry Committee (JIC) structures recommended by the Future Proofing SAARF (FPS) project report?
A: The best way to picture the FPS’s recommendation for audience measurement in South Africa (SA) is to imagine a car. The chassis is a media industry ES and the wheels are currency surveys conducted by JIC structures. The wheels are television, radio, print and out-of-home (OOH) currency surveys and when properly aligned to the chassis, South African media research can drive industry into the future with confidence.
Q: What is a JIC structure?
A: A JIC is any structure, organisation or association responsible for the commissioning of industry audience research. Such entities, chiefly comprising media-owners, advertisers and agencies, operate in a myriad of different ways across the assessed markets. The FPS international investigation did not set out to recommend one preferred model, as in each case, the JIC structure has evolved to accommodate local markets and requirements.
Q: Who conducted the FPS project?
A: The FPS project was undertaken by Jos Kuper and a task team, who were commissioned by industry through the auspices of SAARF (South African Audience Research Foundation) to look into the best way forward for SA media audience measurement. As part of the five phase research project, they evaluated the best international JIC structures and operations during April and May 2013 and then gave their recommendations for a model that could work in the SA media research landscape. This was established prior to the withdrawal of the NAB from SAARF.
Q: Who will conduct research for the broadcasters?
A: The broadcasters will commission future audience measurement research directly, the FPS project’s findings will assist the NAB to establish the necessary structures and research framework based on recognised international best practice. This structure closely mirrors that of the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB) and Radio Audience Research (RAJAR) in the UK, The NAB is committed to continued engagement and discussion with industry stakeholders on developing best practice on broadcasting research toward 2015 that is independent and credible. The broadcasters remain open and committed to on-going collaboration and debate on the inter-media establishment survey and to this end has established an internal working group of television and radio members.
Internationally, different elements of the audience research measurement process are often contracted to different suppliers. Relationships between JICs and with contractors must be well defined and carefully monitored. There are often strong interrelationships between different JICs in sharing components of the survey mix, to ensure a common point of departure, whatever the media type, as well as to lower costs.
Q: What will it take for the establishment survey to function optimally in the SA media landscape?
A: All media types need to participate in the establishment survey for it to be beneficial to the agencies for inter-media comparison. Those that don’t participate may well be prejudiced, as the agencies will be unlikely to use a multitude of sources. It will be essential to have extensive consultation with all stakeholders and users of the research when setting up the new JIC structure paradigm. In other words, the end user will need to be part of the new audience research frame.
This collaborative approach provides the means, at a macro level, for inter-media comparisons and budget allocation, bringing other media stakeholders, the marketers and industry associations, together. It is the most cost effective approach, providing for bigger sample sizes or greater frequency.
Q: Who will decide on the questions used in the establishment survey?
A: Experienced fusion experts in the audience field should be consulted to find out exactly what is required for fusion links. The industry needs an intensive examination of the kinds of questions that are required on the inter-media front if we are to avoid one medium receiving a disproportionate advantage over another.
Q: Why an industry-wide establishment survey is critical?
A: The proposal for the development of an industry-wide establishment survey was developed after examining best practice in many other markets and, specifically on a model from the Netherlands as presented by the FPS committee of SAARF, where all the JICs collaborate to commission a joint establishment survey. The survey is used as a source of census information on demographics and to monitor changes in media equipment ownership and media usage. This allows for a common currency and weighting parameters for all media. It also simplifies the process for agencies when doing inter-media comparisons.
Q: Who commissioned the FPS project?
A: The project scope was agreed with the FPS committee of SAARF in 2012 and usage and perceptions of SAARF’s current products and processes across a wide ranging spectrum of stakeholders was assessed. In addition, perceptions of future needs in terms of the changing media landscape and technology developments were identified. Local and international precedent, trends, technical opportunities and industry research models were investigated. The pros and cons of each was explored and the extent to which they represent an opportunity in the South African context was articulated. Recommendations on potential solutions that could be developed into an implementation plan were then provided.
The Task Team consisted of Jos Kuper and Lauren Shapiro of Kuper Research and Peter McKenzie and Clive Corder. WEMF in Switzerland and AGMA in Germany were visited as well as the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB), the UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM), ROUTE UK (the trade associations for the buyers and sellers of outdoor media), the National Readership Survey (NRS) and the Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) in the UK.
Q: What are the NAB’s plans for the future?
A: The NAB’s future plans include developing and implementing three concurrent projects relating to structure; funding mechanisms; and internationally accepted best practice methodology. The NAB has resolved and is determined to ensure independent and credible research of television and radio. Global technological developments have prompted researchers to apply increasingly focused and reliable sampling and weighting techniques coupled with corrective checks and balances, to measuring both television audiences and radio listenership. Commitment from the NAB, following input from a variety of stakeholder groups, will ensure a smooth transition from SAARF. Whilst being a highly regulated sector of media, the broadcast landscape has altered dramatically in the recent past with the issuing of additional licenses. This is set to continue over the next three years with the long anticipated launch of digital terrestrial technology (DTT).
The NAB will be well prepared as they enter an increasingly competitive, fragmented and exciting phase in broadcast media.