29 January 2016
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Towards audio's first convergent currency: Germany's
ma Audio hybrid measurement


This week's egtabite looks at a breakthrough advance in audio audience measurement: Germany's ma Audio.

ma Audio is the German audio industry's new convergent currency solution. The methodology combines two existing studies with a new panel in order to deliver comparable performance values for programming and advertising across broadcast and online channels.

The first phase: two measures for broadcast and online audio

Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) in Germany is carried out by the JIC agma using the day-after recall (CATI) method. Reporting twice per year, this study is called ma Radio, and it provides accurate and reliable audience figures for the German radio market.

Recognising the growing importance of online audio as a listening platform, agma introduced a new report in early 2014, giving what the organisation refers to as the technical reach of each channel. This report is called ma IP Audio.

ma IP Audio delivers census-level data (also referred to machine or return-path data) derived from log files off all participating audio publishers. These include the online streams of established radio broadcasters as well as online-only radio stations and user-generated radio services. The number of participants in ma IP Audio has increased steadily over the past couple of years, from 153 channels in ma 2014 IP Audio I to 404 channels in ma 2016 IP Audio I.

ma IP Audio provides an actual account of listening activity taking place on the German market, and it offers an accurate representation of smaller and niche streams. However, unlike the ma Radio study, ma IP Audio does not have any mechanism to apply demographic information, such as age or gender, to the listeners behind the streams.

The second phase: towards a convergent audio currency in Germany

agma has now introduced a new study to the German audio market - ma Audio, with the first report delivered in December 2015. This hybrid solution is based on three pillars: the existing ma Radio and ma IP Audio, together with a new and supplementary diary survey of about 3,000 participants, which will bridge the gap between the online audio listeners and their socio-demographic profiles.

The goal is to create comparable performance values as follows:

  • Widest audience (users in the last two weeks)
  • Weekly reach
  • Daily reach (Monday to Friday/Saturday/Sunday)

The relatively small size of the panel naturally limits the granularity of data that can be reported with confidence, and the listening figures in ma Audio are less detailed than those in ma Radio. Greater granularity may be achieved in the future by increasing the number of respondents to the supplementary diary.

This new, hybrid methodology brings the accuracy of digital data collection into the scope of Germany's audio audience measurement, allowing sales houses to identify not only their broadcast reach but also the incremental reach offered by connected devices. Online audio advertising inventory can therefore be sold either alongside broadcast as a traditional radio product, or it may be identified separately and sold under a digital paradigm, such as programmatic trading.

Why this matters for egta members

As people increasingly turn to connected devices to access content, the traditional methods used to measure radio and television are being challenged. agma's work in Germany demonstrates that hybrid measurement solutions can be developed, but such techniques are still in their infancy.

The radio industry has an opportunity to adapt measurement today to be ready for the listening patterns of tomorrow. It is critical that the industry does not allow competitor audio services to set tomorrow's rule to the detriment of radio.

Watch out next week for two new egta reports on hybrid audience measurement!

Target: Radio
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Background info

Please click on the links below to access the relevant documents:

» agma website (please click here)

» Video description of ma Audio (please click here)

Download in PDF

Please click here download the PDF version

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