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October 20, 2020 8:01 pm  #1


Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

I just received an email from an old radio pal, who’s positively giddy about being chosen to participate in the latest Numeris radio survey. He’s done it before between jobs, but now that he’s retired, he was able to assure the screener who called him on the phone that he no longer has ties to any broadcasting or advertising outlet.
 
You wouldn’t think the pandemic would have an effect on the survey, but it does. Here’s a portion of the email he sent me, with permission to reproduce it, complete with a few pics.
 
-----------------
 
“You won’t believe who just called me on the phone! I was just finishing supper when the call display on the handset read “Numeris.” I instantly knew what it was about – the ratings, and they chose me!
 
But instead of sending me a physical diary, they asked for my email address, so - as the rep told me – ‘I won’t have to touch any papers or mail out anything during the pandemic.’ Interesting. The entire diary is online.
 
I first had to fill out a long survey about myself, including age, if I rent or own my house and how much I make a year. (I refused to answer that one – none of their business in my humble opinion.) There were also questions about whether I had Internet access, which seems bizarre considering I was filling out the survey online!
 
https://i.ibb.co/PYDqqnz/page1.jpg

 
And there were some rather pointed queries, which seem to be advertiser related, including one that asked if I’d switched insurance companies over the past year and whether I bought anything online.
 
https://i.ibb.co/j3ghWjR/page2.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/s597WmQ/page3.jpg


I won’t be able to get to the actual diary for any given day until it starts. It runs for a week from October 26-Nov. 1st.
 
https://i.ibb.co/kJ1bgBJ/page4.jpg

 
I have similar tastes in radio to you. So despite not being in the demo advertisers covet, this likely spells good news for CFRB, CFMJ and CKTB. If memory serves, they usually ask you to fill out what you heard in quarter hour increments – every 15 minutes.
 
But like you, I’m an inveterate channel changer, so I’m not entirely sure how you go about noting that you listened to 1010 for three minutes, then turned over somewhere else for another two, went back to ’RB for four more and then – when all of them were in a spot break –  go to Funny 820 for a few minutes as well. How, I wonder, do you list all that?
 
I guess I’ll find out when this thing starts on Monday.
 
And oh yeah, one more thing – what happens to the $5 they used to send you in the mail as a promotional bribe to fill out the survey? There IS nothing coming by mail, so instead they’ve announced they’ll be donating five bucks to my local food bank. Which is fine, I guess, but I miss the token reward!
 
I’ll let you know how it goes.”
 
--------------------
 
So there you have it. I’ll be “listening” to see how he does and if there’s anything else he tells me, I’ll post it here.

 

October 20, 2020 8:56 pm  #2


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

For whatever reason my wife and I have been asked to complete these diaries at least twice in the last decade. We have done so honestly and diligently. At the end of the diary is a page (use an additional piece of paper if needed) to tell them your thoughts with respect to radio. Hoping this would be a good venue to provide feedback and perhaps get managements' attention we both enclosed well considered constructive ideas on how to make the stations better (in our opinion of course). Generally I expressed concern over less live programming, bland / boring talk shows and very narrow cookie cutter playlists. Nothing ever improves. If anything it gets worse.

We gave it our best shot, if they ever call again and ask us to participate we will decline with thanks and tell them why.

Good luck doing the survey. Perhaps your comments will be more helpful then mine.

 

 

October 20, 2020 10:02 pm  #3


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

I was asked to do a diary on my television viewing in January 1981. I know the month because that was when the American hostages came home from Iran and I was watching much more TV than normal.


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

October 20, 2020 10:20 pm  #4


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

I once had the book to fill out.  I made sure to note I listened to A View From Space with Gary Bell on Saturday nights. 

 

October 20, 2020 10:24 pm  #5


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

I too filled out the book. I don't think I'll be invited to participate again.

 

October 21, 2020 7:30 am  #6


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

Won't matter until next Spring.....
 Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Numeris has been more committed than ever in delivering complete and insightful audience data providing context and value to members and the media industry in general. Part of this commitment involved reorganizing our call centres to work remotely to recruit and collect radio diary data under continuous measurement in maintaining our scheduled diary services and providing members with audience and consumption behaviour data.

Earlier this year we reviewed several options to produce a Fall Radio Release amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Given Radio has the benefit of collecting data every month (under continuous measurement) and our experience with online diary as part of past releases, we were confident an online-only release was the best option to maintain measurement during this pandemic.

However, the impact of COVID-19 and its extenuating factors have made it more challenging to recruit with response rates lower than planned with households struggling to find the time to complete the diary during this pandemic.

After consulting with the Radio Executive Committee, and in light of the lower return rates for Fall, Numeris’ recommendation was not to produce the Fall 2020 Radio Release but rather focus on a Spring 2021 Release using the diaries collected for Fall and continuing enumeration for Spring. This recommendation is fully supported by the Radio Executive Committee and our Board.

This is not a decision we took lightly. Numeris made a number of changes to our diary operations and these efforts have improved the Fall return rates but not enough to avoid borrowing a significant number of old diaries to fulfill sample targets for several markets. Taking all of this into consideration, Numeris believes focusing our efforts on recruitment and improving returns for a stronger Spring radio diary release provides more value to Radio and our members.http://image.measure.numeris.ca/lib/fe36157175640479701c76/m/2/2fc51ac2-cb20-40e8-b989-f1fdc5d2c3dd.jpg
As part of the process moving forward, Numeris plans to focus on ‘understanding the respondents’. We will connect with households that confirmed participation but did not complete the diary. This will provide additional insights towards understanding the lack of responses during these unprecedented times and making necessary adjustments in recruitment. http://image.measure.numeris.ca/lib/fe36157175640479701c76/m/2/98b27570-6241-4a83-8ce8-eabc49b9f365.jpg
We continue to update our diary operations with the learning from respondents during these unprecedented times. Many of the challenges encountered at the start of Fall 2020 have already been mitigated with changes to our diary operations. It is too early to tell if Numeris has achieved exactly the right level of ongoing sustainability because many of the changes were made recently and the full impact is to-be-determined.  However, Numeris is more confident in a Spring release, and will look to validate that projection in the coming weeks as diary commitment and return results stabilize.

Releasing in Spring 2021 means:


  • All markets released with majority of new data
  • Using new diary data will be more comparable with future diary releases … Fall 2021, if COVID continues
  • Better use of sample for Spring and Fall 2021
  • RTS Spring release may be impacted as a result of no Fall Diary release.

Regular, ongoing communication will be distributed to the industry throughout the Fall as we prepare for the Spring 2021 release.

 

October 27, 2020 2:34 pm  #7


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

My friend, who’s filling out his Numeris diary, wrote me with an update. And I have to confess, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. After all those years of being at the mercy of the BBMs (as they were called then) he was looking forward to being on the other end.
 
But in just two days, he’s become extremely frustrated and angry with the whole thing and is wondering if he’ll even bother finishing the week.
 
How did the ratings company go from having such an enthusiastic contributor to someone who’s soured on the process after just 48 hours? Here’s his email.
 
---------------------------
 
I’m two days into the online diary and despite my looking forward to this, I’m about ready to chuck the whole the thing. What happened? A number of endless frustrations.
 
Let’s start with the interface itself. It’s clunky and time consuming. Instead of being able to simply enter a time, you have to scroll an “up and down” arrow to pick it. And it normals to 5am, which means if it’s 11 o’clock at night, you have to keep manipulating the thing to get it right. My wrist hurts from all the carpal tunnel twisting.
 
Then, there’s the site itself. It doesn’t work with a VPN and gives you an error message if you forget to turn it off. Worse, you then have to go and sign back in to return to where you were.
 
But it gets much more frustrating even if you’re not VPN-ing. (Is that a word?) If the thing sits idle for 15 minutes (and it measures your listening in quarter hours, so it has to be at least that long) and you go to it, complete the clock, the station you were monitoring and where you were when you heard it, the error message comes back, completely wiping it out. And yes, you have to go all the way back to the sign in page and start all over again. Tedious and time consuming.
 
And that’s not all. As mentioned in my last email, if you listen to more than one station in a 15 minute time frame you’re only allowed to enter one of them. People’s livelihoods can depend on ratings and you’re cheating them of a possible point or two boost by having to play favourites. It’s dishonest, wrong – and worse, inaccurate.
 
They give you a place to leave comments for radio stations to read about their programming, but offer you only 1,500 characters to do it. What is this, Twitter? Not that they’ll likely ever even read it, but I have a lot more to opine on than that allows.
 
And then there’s this, something that got me so angry, I almost gave up right then and there. I was reading what is laughably called their “privacy statement.” It tells users that Numeris collects their IP address and then states it also reads “the web page you visited immediately prior to visiting the survey site.”
 
What? It monitors where I’ve come from? What the hell does that have to do with what I’m listening to and what damn business is it of theirs if I’m on Facebook, my own site or a porno site? (Which, for the record, I wasn’t.) It’s none of their business and I can’t fathom why a radio ratings company needs that personal information. Get lost and stay out of my private browsing you creeps! That breach is simply inexcusable.     

 I spoke to a company rep about it and he admitted he had no idea it was in there – and that he’d never even read his own firm’s Privacy Statement! He recommended I fire off an email to their Privacy Officer about this policy and I have yet to hear back from that department. I strongly suspect I never will. (Why do I get the impression they’ll never ask me to do this again?)
 
And finally, after reading the lead story on Broadcast Dialogue yesterday, I’m now left wondering if there’s even any point to this at all. The story is titled “Numeris announces cancellation of Fall 2020 Radio Release,” and indicates that none of the radio ratings they’re collecting through these online diaries will be used for much of anything, at least until the spring – when they’re completely out of date.
  
(I just noticed on the site a poster named Bristol pointed this out a few days ago. But I didn’t see it until now.)
 
I phoned the supplied company number and spoke to another of their reps, who admitted to me he had no idea what I was talking about. So I read him an exact quote from his own company and he was stunned, admitting he couldn’t guarantee any of the work I’m painstakingly entering – for free, no less - would ever even be used. I gave him the URL and invited him to read it for himself.
 
So that’s where I am in what I thought would be a fun outing in radio ratings land. How did they ever manage to turn it into such a mess? There are “Numeris” problems with all this. And I don’t know how they can ever fix it.
 
And to think, I used to trust the ratings. Not anymore!

     Thread Starter
 

October 27, 2020 2:48 pm  #8


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

Their decision to go online only for this fall's book is likely the reason they ended up having to cancel it. Your friend is not alone in his disdain for the process. They signed enough people up, but too many quit.


 
 

October 27, 2020 2:51 pm  #9


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

RadioActive wrote:

And then there’s this, something that got me so angry, I almost gave up right then and there. I was reading what is laughably called their “privacy statement.” It tells users that Numeris collects their IP address and then states it also reads “the web page you visited immediately prior to visiting the survey site.”
 
What? It monitors where I’ve come from? What the hell does that have to do with what I’m listening to and what damn business is it of theirs if I’m on Facebook, my own site or a porno site? (Which, for the record, I wasn’t.) It’s none of their business and I can’t fathom why a radio ratings company needs that personal information. Get lost and stay out of my private browsing you creeps! That breach is simply inexcusable.

I have some bad news for him: virtually every website does that.
 


 
 

October 27, 2020 2:53 pm  #10


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

Yes, they do. In a follow-up email, he's vowed to start with a fresh and anonymized browser for every entry to defeat this spyware. He's right though - they really don't need that info. 

     Thread Starter
 

October 27, 2020 3:00 pm  #11


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

RadioActive wrote:

Yes, they do. In a follow-up email, he's vowed to start with a fresh and anonymized browser for every entry to defeat this spyware. He's right though - they really don't need that info. 

They only need info regarding radio listening choices (online) that are outside of the market the person is doing the diary for. 


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.
 
 

October 27, 2020 4:05 pm  #12


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

I am surprised your old radio pal is having so much of a problem with the on line Numeris survey.  I did it 7 or 8 weeks ago and had no issues.  It was much better than the diary I filled out for TV viewing a few years back.  It was easy peasy, lemon squeezy in my opinion. https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/laughing.png


Why the issue of forcing you to play favourites?  That's what the ratings are, you are recording your favourite stations that you listen to.  So you listen to one station a few minutes longer than the other in the same quarter hour.  What's the big deal?  He who gets the time gets the rating!!  I am sure if the other station is also one that he regularly listens to they could show up later in the day or week?

Anyway I hope your friend doesn't get too down or upset and manages to complete the task.  Inexcusable however that the Numeris staff were clueless when he called asked a few questions. Never a good sign when the staff can't answer basic questions.

 

October 27, 2020 4:16 pm  #13


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

I think it's the endless timing out-having-to-sign-back-in-constantly that's bugging him. And the interface is annoying to him. (He listens to a ton of radio, so he's constantly entering things, so the sign out is especially irritating.)

But you're right, the lack of info from Numeris has led him to the assumption that he actually knows more about this than they do! And they're getting a paycheque while he's doing it for free. What's wrong with this picture?  

As for his other beef - that the ratings aren't accurate because you're forced to choose between one and the other - I've tried to console him somewhat that while some don't get credit, others he doesn't like much get left out entirely. My friend is not a fan of Doyle and Michaels on RB (that's an understatement - he despises their show). He's been avoiding the station like the plague between 4-6:30 PM, so he can honestly not have to enter them in the diary.

I told them at least he gets to leave them out of his ratings, so they get no boost from him. Didn't seem to satisfy him though! (To be fair, he's not vindictive and doesn't wish them any ill, he just can't stand their shtick, as he calls it. But he thinks everybody has a right to make a living - even if he's not listening!)

     Thread Starter
 

October 27, 2020 6:25 pm  #14


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

If he's using the online diary in Toronto, those number never go anywhere anyway.


 
 

October 27, 2020 9:02 pm  #15


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

Numeris cancelled the Fall survey.


Visit my brand stinkin' new radio page:
https://www.joshholliday.com/radio/

 
 

October 27, 2020 9:07 pm  #16


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

And yet they told my friend to fill out his diary anyway. When he asked why, they told him they were combining it with the Spring Book. But anyone in radio knows those two books are very different. So why are they still asking for the info? He asked Numeris several times, and never got a straight answer. 

     Thread Starter
 

October 27, 2020 9:45 pm  #17


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

Desperation. The only way to make the spring book work is to combine them both. They're admitting that things likely won't be better in the spring, and they need both books' worth of data to have an adequate sample. 

But again, the diary ratings in Toronto aren't used by broadcasters or advertisers anyway.

Last edited by RadioAaron (October 27, 2020 9:46 pm)


 
 

November 1, 2020 11:27 am  #18


Re: Diary Of A Numeris Ratings Diary Keeper

David Bray, who keeps track of and analyzes Numeris radio ratings on his website, is very disparaging about the company designed to tell stations who's listening and who isn't. He thinks the former BBM is letting down its clients - and is further outraged that they won't be getting a refund on a Fall Book that will never be issued. 

From his Broadcast Dialogue editorial:

"Now buyers and sellers have to rely on a problematic Spring 2020 book for selling well into 2021. What about format flips, staff changes and station promotions among other considerations? Should we look to a new Spring book in 2021? Maybe. “It is too early to tell if Numeris has achieved the right level of ongoing sustainability”. Numeris promises to “focus on understanding respondents”. To seek “additional insights towards understanding the lack of responses”. Should we now be filled with optimism? 

"Please note who signed this Numeris update. No one. Who takes responsibility? I take no joy in this assessment."


Numeris takes a fall

No word yet from my friend about his diary pursuits, but Sunday is the final day of his record keeping. 

     Thread Starter