Broadcast Audience Measurement Update
To all BRC Stakeholders and Members,
We acknowledge the great uncertainty and concern in our industry and across South Africa, given the nationwide lockdown that came into effect on the 26th of March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the lockdown period our key focus is business continuity and employee welfare operating within an overarching principle of aligning all in-market actions with the regulations imposed by government.
The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC) is working closely, but virtually, with its research partners to understand how the latest government restrictions affect its ability to maintain its services. Our partners have contingency plans, and in many instances over the past few weeks, these have been put in place to ensure business continuity. One immediate impact is that all face-to-face interviewing and technician visits to panel homes have been suspended as of the 26th of March 2020.
The suspension of technician visits means we cannot conduct routine maintenance of metering equipment in panel homes or add new homes to the panel (normally a continuous task to ensure optimisation of the size and balance of the panel). As a result, while the BRC TAMS installed household base will remain stable, we may see a slight decline in the number of reporting households on the panel until technicians are legally authorised to visit panel homes again. Nielsen will alert the BRC via weekly dashboards should any reporting KPIs be missed during this period, but we can be reasonably assured that the TAMS panel will continue to deliver reliable and accurate data over this period. We expect daily audience data delivery to continue as normal, with little impact for users.
Despite the current market disruption and uncertainty, the BRC continues to produce daily television viewing figures to serve advertisers and media owners at a time when television viewing is expected to substantially increase due to the number of South Africans required to remain at home. ATV (average time viewed) on linear and non-linear channels combined, across all adults, has increased by 35% and 13% for weeks 12 and 13 respectively compared to the same period in 2019. In addition, linear broadcast viewing on its own has increased by 35% and 10% respectively in weeks 12 and 13.
With regards to our Radio Audience Measurement (BRC RAM), in line with COVID-19 legislation, face-to-face fieldwork has been suspended. This has fortunately come at a time close to the end of the quarter, therefore whilst there may be an impact on final sample size achieved, we should be in a position to continue to issue Quarter 1 2020 data as scheduled, with results being released in May 2020. At this stage, we intend to continue with fieldwork for Quarter 2 2020 as soon as possible after the lockdown period. Our RAMS research partner, Kantar, will use all reasonable endeavours to make up the for the lost field work period over the course of the remainder of Quarter 2 2020. Should the situation at this time not allow for face-to-face fieldwork, we will engage with Kantar to investigate other alternatives for our BRC RAM service. We are in discussions regarding alternative options for Quarter 2 should the lockdown period be extended. Please note that we are not aware of a COVID-19 lockdown extension, however, we are taking necessary precautions to ensure business continuity.
Alternative solutions we are considering include, updated population figure weighting using Quarter 1 data, modelling and data analytics, continuing to use Quarter 1 data for a longer period, using technology to enable data collection or supplementing our currency data with separate radio measures to provide a reading over this time. These discussions will be led by what is possible to achieve under the current conditions and within existing government restrictions with the intention of ensuring that what we deliver to you, our Stakeholders and Members, is relevant and useful.
The BRC team is working remotely; please contact us via email if you have any queries. With conditions on the ground changing daily, keeping you fully informed on the status of our services is our top priority. We remain committed to delivering our services to your expectations and needs and value ongoing open conversation as we navigate these challenging times together.
Please contact me if you would prefer to opt out of these occasional email updates, or if you have colleagues who would like to opt in.
Our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19, and all those in our country, especially our healthcare sector, who are working extremely hard to assist those who have the virus.
Stay home, stay safe and keep in touch!
CEO: BRC SA
The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC) was established in 2015, our role being to commission and oversee the delivery of radio and television audience measurement research for broadcasters, as well as the advertising and marketing industry.
We are also responsible for the reliable collection of contributions from media owners via a levy system, as well as the management of these funds.
Our main objectives include:
To commission and coordinate
We commission and give oversight to radio and television audience measurement research, that being BRC RAM (Radio Audience Measurement) and BRC TAMS (Television Audience Measurement).
It is crucial that the data provided be objective and honest, which is why we ensure that the research, as well as the management and reporting thereof, is transparent and managed and audited through a battery of KPIs.
To make the research available
All broadcasters and media planners have access to audience measurement research (BRC RAM and BRC TAMS) via industry standard media planning software tools.
Funding the research
Through the contributions received from our media owner members we are able to fund the research in respect of both television and radio. We also contribute towards the industry-wide Establishment Survey.
Support and collaboration
One of our larger goals is to support and contribute to the funding of additional collaborative industry-wide research, namely the Establishment Survey.
Raising the standards
We promote and maintain fair and transparent standards for broadcast audience measurement.
Day to day
We keep a lean operational team to ensure the smooth running of day-to-day activities.
This team is made up of:
- BRC Accountant – Perceverance Thakhudi
- Research Director – Karabo Matobole
- Research Executive : Television – Boitumelo Pooe
- Office Manager & PA to the CEO – Anele N Ntuli
How we operate
The Television Research Committee is made up of television broadcasters, who meet every 5 weeks to review the BRC TAMS KPIs and ensure that the data has credibility and is managed transparently.
- BRC TAMS User oversight forum: TV broadcasters, media planners and agencies are invited to review the research. This forum ensures that those who are using the research are yielding its full benefit.
The Radio Research Committee is made up of radio broadcasters. The committee meets once a month to review the BRC RAM KPIs and thereby ensure that the data has credibility and is managed transparently.
- BRC RAM user oversight forum: radio broadcasters, media planners and agencies are invited to review the research. This forum ensures that those who are using the research are yielding its full benefit.
About the research
The BRC owns the data and all IP rights attached thereto from any and all research it commissions and gives oversight to.
BRC research products include:
BRC Radio Audience Measurement (BRC RAM)
A multiplatform and intuitive survey that is respondent-friendly across all walks of South African life. This tool collects the most accurate data through a seven day diary, across different geographies, locations, languages, and socio-economic landscapes. The BRC commissions the BRC RAM through its research supplier, TNS, and the data is released quarterly. The data is released quarterly each year – February / May / August / November.
BRC Television Audience Measurement (BRC TAMS)
This high quality television audience measurement system uses peoplemeter technology, a tool used to measure the viewing habits of TV audiences. Management of this research ensures that it has proper controls, transparent reporting and regular audits in place. The BRC commissions BRC TAMS through its research supplier, Nielsen, and the data is released daily. Users are able to access this data through industry standard media planning software tools.
The BRC has entered into a collaborative partnership with the Publisher Research Council (PRC), the Advertiser Media Forum (AMF), and MASA on the new Establishment Survey (ES). The BRC and the PRC are the funders and owners of this dataset, with the BRC being the majority funder at 68% and the PRC funding the remaining 32%. The aim is for media owners, marketers, and advertisers to use the survey as a strategic inter-media planning tool, as the ES will survey media usage across all media types by all major demographics. The ES data is released twice a year – March and September.
Johan Van Rooyen