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GFK Given Job Of Measuring Radio Despite Questionable CE Research

By David Richards | Tuesday | 19/02/2013

GFK the research Company that delivers questionable results relating to the sale of IT and consumer electronic goods has been given a 3 year contract to measure who is listening to radio in Australia.

The European research Company who was stopped from collecting data in JB Hi Fi and Retravision stores will start measuring radio audiences from January 1 next year after traditional radio research Company Nielsen was dumped.

According to several vendors and large retailers like JB Hi Fi GFK data relating to consumer electronics and IT sales is not accurate. One TV vendor last year described GFK data as "pure GFK fiction", GFK who has admitted that they do not measure house brands such as Soniq TV's or Yellowstone consumer electronics goods which are sold in Australian stores is set to make more millions measuring radio listeners.

Garry Lamb the Managing Director of GFK Australia claims that the consumer electronics and IT data collected and analysed by GFK is an "accurate estimation" because of GFK's "mathematical" and "analysis" skills which are used to guess what some retailers are selling in Australia.

Lamb admits that in the consumer electronics market, his company does not have access to data from JB Hi Fi, despite JB Hi Fi having over 30% share of the overall consumer electronics market and over 40% share in several categories tracked by GFK with other retailers.

Instead the European company, who charge vendors and distributors millions, for their sales data, use their own analysis skills, to "estimate" what JB Hi Fi and retailers like Retravision WA who don't give GFK access to their sales data, sell. 

Late yesterday Commercial Radio Australia said the new contract would "future proof'' the radio audience measurement system, broadening it beyond the current paper-based diary system to include mobile and online data capture and also online recruitment for members of the survey group.

She told the Australian newspaper "This is an exciting time for the radio industry and marks a new era for the future of radio audience measurement in Australia,'' said CRA chief executive Joan Warner. She has not commented on claims that GFK data relating to the sale of products likje digital radio's are not accurate.

Commercial Radio Australia said that from the first survey, in 2014, a minimum of 20 per cent of survey participants will be recruited online and will complete an  e-diary. This percentage will be reviewed and possibly increased in 2015.

Ms Warner said that at this stage, no electronic device had proved to be reliable or robust enough to be the sole measure of radio audience measurement.

"However the industry is committed to investigating with GfK in the first 24 months whether there is a device that may be integrated into a multimodal approach and would be both feasible and cost effective,'' she said.

GFK who has made millions researching the consumer electronics and IT industry sales has been slammed by both TV and consumer electronic Companies in the past.
Soniq who exclusively sell their products via JB Hi Fi claim the data issued by GFK is not accurate. Song Su, General Manager of Soniq in Australia said of research data relating to the TV indusrtry : "Based on our sales, in January of 2011, we should have been in fifth spot on the GFK estimation of TV sales in Australia. The GFK data is not an accurate interpretation of sales in the Australian market," he said.

 "We sell exclusively through JB Hi Fi and our sales for January, which can be verified by JB Hi Fi, reflect that we did significantly better than several of the brands listed by GFK including several other Chinese brands that are sold by other retailers," He added.

The CEO of another Chinese brand not identified by GFK said: "We are dumped into 'others' despite strong sales in Australia. The GFK data is pure fiction, which for the price they are trying to charge should be a lot more accurate". 

Mark Leathan, the former Marketing Manager of Samsung's consumer electronics division and now Marketing Director of Caltex, said: "GFK data is not accurate nor is it an accurate estimation of what is being sold in the market. When you don't have access to large slabs of data such as JB Hi Fi sales, you cannot accurately estimate sales, as the JB Hi Fi of two years ago, when GFK lost access to their data, has changed. They sell different brands and have different go to market methods".

Defending GFK Lamb said of the claims: "Our numbers are not an accurate reflection of what has been sold via retailers. It is an estimate, based on our mathematical skills, the date we collect and our analysis ability, which is based on knowledge of sales data collected across 120 Countries, allows us to estimate what JB Hi Fi and other retailers have sold".

"We are not collecting data in JB Hi Fi stores, but that does not mean the data we deliver to vendors and retailers is not an accurate estimation," Lamb said.

According to the Australian newspaper advertisers and media buyers have questioned whether the traditional paper diary survey method was still effective at measuring listening in an increasingly digital-based world.

Ms Warner said that at this stage, no electronic device had proved to be reliable or robust enough to be the sole measure of radio audience measurement.

"However the industry is committed to investigating with GfK in the first 24 months whether there is a device that may be integrated into a multimodal approach and would be both feasible and cost effective,'' she said.

The aim was "to integrate the best and latest form of electronic measurement into the radio audience measurement suite of tools by the end of the first three year term''.

GfK will also introduce a new radio audience behaviour panel with 5000 members looking at key issues for the radio and media industries, such as consumption of radio via the internet, the role of radio in people's lives and mobile and headphone listening.


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