Pan-Euro audience measurement service to launch

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LONDON -- A group of pan-European TV channels have agreed to develop a diary-based audience measurement survey. The new partnership consists of seven international broadcaster: BBC World, CNBC, CNN International, Discovery, Euronews, NBC and TV5. They, along with a number of other international channels, are members of the PETV Research Group.

The seven channels are setting up a joint working committee which will ask advertisers and advertising agencies to participate in forming the Satellite Television Audience Measurement Partnership (STAMP).

The seven backers do not include two of the biggest pan-European TV channels: Eurosport and MTV Europe. A source at Eurosport said that, while it supports the STAMP initiative, Eurosport invests millions of dollars in eight peoplemeter systems and sees the use of diaries as "retrogressive." MTV Europe also uses peoplemeters.

The other main audience measurement system is the European Media and Marketing Survey (EMS). First launched in 1995, EMS conducts 18,000 telephone interviews about the TV and reading habits of the top 20% of earners in 16 countries. EMS is supported by the same TV backers as STAMP, with the exception of Discovery and TV5. In addition, EMS is backed by Eurosport and MTV.

Marion Appel, the managing director of Interview, which conducts the EMS survey, says that diary and peoplemeter surveys complement rather than compete with EMS. Diary and peoplemeterbased systems provide the details on the time of day and what programs are being scene that media planners require. While telephone interviews can't provide such detail, the sample sizes of diary surveys aren't large enough to establish how many viewers a channel is reaching or viewer demographics, Ms. Appel says.

The initial stage of the STAMP project will involve a major pilot study. The pilot contract has been awarded to Research Services Limited, the U.K.-based subsidiary of the IPSOS Group. Fifteen market researchers competed.

The STAMP pilot study will consist of personal viewing diaries as well as supplementary questionnaires to collect household and individual marketing and lifestyle information. The fieldwork for the pilot study will be conducted in eight European countries. The decision to proceed with the main survey will be taken this summer.

Didier Mormesse, chairman of the PETV Research group and director of international research for CNN International at Turner Broadcasting, says: "The partners in the project believe that joint research initiatives--involving media owners, advertisers, and advertising and media agencies-are fundamental to the continued growth of the pan-European TV sector. STAMP is likely to provide what the international advertising industry has been expecting for a long time: a single tool for planning and evaluating multi-channel pan-European TV campaigns."

Copyright April 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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