Toronto/Fraser Valley (With files from Connie Thiessen/Broadcast Dialogue)

Numeris has announced a massive change to the ratings system for Canadian radio. Numeris is the body that counts listeners and reports back to radio stations, who in turn report to their current and potential advertisers.(as well as programming consultants and accountants).

Ninety-five Small and Medium markets, including Red Deer, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Halifax, (as well as Abbotsford and Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley), which still rely on diary results, will move to year-round measurement as of this summer. The result will see audience data releases reflect a rolling average. Data will be collected over 24 weeks, essentially every other week, excluding the last two weeks of December and first two weeks in January, during a 12-month period and reported in the Fall and Spring.

The move comes following consistent recruitment challenges in recent years to achieve sufficient sample levels, created in part by the shift to mobile-only households (ie no telephone land line), and the public’s increasing reluctance to participate in consumer surveys.

Those issues came to a head in Spring 2018 when Numeris had to suppress ratings results for five television and 10 radio markets, including Saint John, NB; Kingston; Windsor; Regina; Saskatoon; Lethbridge; Red Deer; Kelowna; Kamloops and Prince George.

In the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack only had one ratings period, the fall “book”. More information should aid the major players in the Valley, especially Rogers who own the bulk of the radio stations.

Numeris plans to move forward with the new system in July. It will roll out in two phases, with the initial ratings release in December to be a combination of the continuous measurement solution and the previous book.

Much like the introduction of the Portable People Meter (PPM) measurement system in the major markets – Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver – in 2009, a transition period and initial ratings shift is anticipated. In the Valley, radio ratings have been done by a (first)mail in and (current) on line ballot.

More information on how the data will be collected and the mechanism to be used, is expected in May.

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