Nielsen, with the South African Audience Research Foundation (Saarf), has introduced a large number (55% more) of new households to the Television Audience Measurement Survey (TAMS) panel as part of its agreed plan to update and expand the process. The move has found favour with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the biggest critic of TAMS, which says the expanded panel is “now robust and representative”.
Last year the NAB gave notice of its intention to withdraw from Saarf and TAMS and work towards setting up its own broadcasting measurement surveys, complaining that there were “serious shortcomings” in the surveys, leading to “an inexplicable fall in ratings in certain LSM (living standard measures) groups, particularly LSM 4 to LSM 6, which constitutes the lower to middle income South Africans who are the largest consumers of free-to-air television”.
The NAB says adopting recommendations from the 2013 TAMS audit will result in “weighting efficiencies improving significantly from 48% to 68% (which is now in line with global best practice of 70%) and will ensure rating stability (which is essential for media planning)”. The upgraded TAMS were released on 3 March 2014 now includes data from the most recent Census. All coding errors have been amended and technological advancements have contributed to the accuracy of measurement.
Saarf said the expansion of the panel began in September 2013 “with the objective of expanding the panel as quickly as possible to 2 500 reporting households in line with the new TAMS contract”.
The panel was built to reflect the 16.4% increase in TV Households in metro areas, especially in Gauteng (14.6%) and the Western Cape (13.7%). The number of individuals 4+ years who have access to a working TV set in home has grown by 7% from 40.1m to 42.9m. The Panel expansion is reflective of the Total Television Households in South Africa which have increased from 12.1 million to 12.8 million (5.7% growth).
“This enhancement of TAMS was expedited by the NAB and television broadcasters, resulting in significant improvements in the weighting regime and panel balance. Each change has gone through rigorous parallel testing to ensure integrity of the data with the new structures. The upgraded TAMS panel is in line with the best global standards and the health and representativeness of the panel has vastly improved. This is a ‘step change’ in data, greatly increasing the stability and robustness of the research and is a new start in Television Audience Measurement,” said Janet Proudfoot, general manager of group research and audience strategy at e.tv.
An additional 1 122 households where installed, equating to over 3 300 new respondents. It was done in accordance with an industry approved plan of expanding the panel to be representative and profiled according to the newly released population estimates from census 2011 and as incorporated into AMPS 2013A.
The LSM 5-7 group and Nguni speakers were the major recruits required to balance the panel to new population estimates. Nguni speakers have grown considerably by 18%, while all other language groups have shown small declines. English speakers have the most notable decrease with 2.3%.
“We installed 444 households with Nguni spoken as the home language, with 365 of these households falling within LSM 5-7,” says Candice Ulrich, TAMS lead for recruitment and panel management at Nielsen. “This demographic group have traditionally been lighter viewers than English / Afrikaans speakers, which have now been proportionally reduced in the panel resulting in total time spent viewing dropping off marginally”.
Because the new households came predominantly into the lower LSMs, the pay to non-pay ratio has been rebalanced, Saarf says. ”Thus the over representation of DStv homes has been reduced as planned, contributing to stronger overall panel efficiencies”.
Saarf said that during the fourth quarter of 2013, additional instability in some target markets (particularly housewives) was identified coming from a coding error relating to the work status of children aged 4 to 6. It said this would be rectified together with the introduction of the new RIMs and population figures as part of the March 2013A universe update.
“Once the universe updates and new weighting structure are implemented in March 2014, stability should return to the panel and we will have a stable and robust currency for the buying of television going forward,” Saarf says.
Meanwhile, NAB, with Saarf, will oversee research conducted by Nielsen throughout 2014. “The TAMS agreement will run for the next five years, with a tri-partite agreement between the NAB, Saarf and Nielsen for the duration of 2014 and then the contract continues between the still-to- be-formed Broadcasting Joint Industry Committee (JIC) and Nielsen from 2015-2019. After that a new tender will go out,” NAB said.
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