Saturday, April 20, 2019

Nielsen Radio Survey (Part 7)

And after it's over you receive a postcard thanking you, and again reminding you to return the diary for your long-promised $10. Mine was slightly mauled by the post, but the gesture remains clear.
My only afterthought these weeks later is how the diary system subtly prompts you to favor terrestrial AM and FM radio.  The instructions  specifically direct you to label stations as AM, FM, Internet or satellite. There are check boxes for AM and FM for you to do that, but none for Internet or Satellite.

The notion of podcasts not even addressed. TV content is routinely time-shifted now with DVR technology etc. Radio programs are as well in the form of podcasts, and other pre-recorded programs etc. But this minutia may not matter in the grand scheme of their survey system. The Nielsen survey seems geared toward live terrestrial radio, perhaps to the detriment of the other content providers.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Nielsen Radio Survey (Part 6)

Nielsen has it down to a science. Before I even completed the survey, I got a reminder letter with more crisp dollar bills, explaining the importance of the data, and reiterating for an Nth time that I have $10 coming to me if I can return the diary in under 3 weeks.

It's hard to imagine that there are people that get this far but fail to mail a postage-paid envelope to collect the $10. But I am sure it happens.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Nielsen Radio Survey (Part 5)

So here's the diary itself. The instructions are simplicity itself. Over the last 50 years Nielsen has made these more or less idiot-proof. I prefer to use the term idiot-resistant, as virtually nothing is truly idiot-proof.

Here's a page from the diary itself. Note that it is identical to the instructions. I'd be curious to know how many respondents know the correct brand, call sign and or frequency of the station they're listening to. I do, but I'm a radio geek. In this survey I am what statisticians refer to as an outlier.
Here's the last page. Basic demographic data: age, gender, education, ethnicity, employment status, children, and income. Interestingly it also includes an opinion section. The hilarity that must contain most of the time.

On the very last page, beside the edge that seals the diary for mailing, it further says "We sometimes recontact people for special studies. Returning this diary does not commit you to participate in these studies." I would guess this is more specific to ethnic groups who under-represented in the sample. Sadly Radio geek is not a recognized ethnicity.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Nielsen Radio Survey (Part 4)

This yellow flyer, about 7" x 4" was at the bottom of the box, I missed it on the first pass. It just reiterates who can participate, and who cannot, and again summarizes the simple instructions. They're really working hard at making this as easy as possible to complete.

The $10 Bonus award flyer is 6" x 7" and folded in half to fit in each respondents envelope. It's the same content as elsewhere, except for the (pretty reasonable) fine print:
"In order to receive your bonus check, Nielsen must receive your completed diary within three weeks of the "Finish" date, which is indicated on your diary. Payment for all members of the household whose diaries are received by Nielsen within three weeks of the "Finish" date will be mailed together as one check to the contact person at the household address. Distribution of the funds will be the responsibility of the household contact person. Bonus checks may be mailed by a third-party check vendor who will not try to sell you anything or ask you for money or sell/add your name/address to a mailing list. Checks will be shipped approximately six to eight weeks after Nielsen receives your completed radio ratings diary. Nielsen is not responsible for lost, late or misdirected mail. LIMIT ONE DIARY PER PERSON. Duplicate returned diaries will constitute fraud. Theft, diversion, reproduction, transfer, sale, or purchase of the bonus offer or the accompanying diary is prohibited and constitutes fraud. Offer valid only to intended recipients of Nielsen diary. Void where taxed, restricted or prohibited. Diary must be completed and returned during the relevant diary period. Nielsen reserves the right to verify identification. Fraudulent submissions could result in federal prosecution under the U.S. Mail Fraud statutes (18 United states Code, Sections 1341 and 1342)."

That last claim is a bit obtuse. Section 1341 is for "frauds and swindles" essentially obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses. This protects Nielsen in the rare scenario where you fake or copy some portion of the diary to defraud Nielsen. Somewhere out there is someone who would do that for $10. Section 1342 specifically addresses any fictitious, name, title or address. So reasonably no responding under a fake name. Neither of these prohibits making copies of the documents as Nielsen intimates.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Nielsen Radio Survey (Part 3)

As much as I appreciate the importance of a ratings system, it's hard to ignore the "Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes" vibe in the continual promise of future cash. But I suppose for most other participants, the ratings themselves are of little interest. They're driven by a combination of money and ease of participation. I am sure Nielsen has studied this as well and has a nice vector diagram that stands as a cultural proxy for laziness and greed.
Most radio listeners listen to local radio, in the car in the commute to and from work. However, in each letter, and this pamphlet Nielsen dives home the point "Listening is any time you hear radio- whether it is on AM, FM, the Internet or satellite." In 2019 most of my radio listening is on the internet, and a minority of those have actual terrestrial broadcasts. They failed to itemize podcasts, but I'll include those as a subset of internet.