Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Old Fashioned Paper Diary

Rating services have been using the Paper Diary for around 45+ years.  They are still used around the world even with the advent of the people meter.  They are simple to fill out and there's not a lot of expense to get the data once you've got a willing participant.   But, it's getting harder and harder to get the younger audience to fill out a diary with a paper and pen.

Writing things down is something that is quickly fading from our world.  We click on the keyboards (no matter how small they are) and dictate to our devices.  There is no need to write much for the older half of Gen X and all the Millenials which make up the entire 18-45 cells. Even their signature is going digital.

We have seen the sample sizes continue to struggle in these cells and we often see extra cash sent to these groups to try and get the sample.  In most cases, the sample falls short and the diaries from these cells are weighted up, so they are worth 130 or 200 percent of the value of the demo cells that met their goals in returns.

So why not take the diary on-line?  Have it set up so you can fill it out on your smartphone or tablet or laptop.  Will younger demos fill it out?  Will it be more accurate? In Canada, their ratings system (Numeris), made the bold move to give it a try this past Fall.

So how did it turn out?  So far it looks like the sample return was up for 12+  just under 6%.  The 18-34 demos did show a stronger return.  But, the time spent listening was down - also around 6%.  Is the On Line Diary more cumbersome to fill out on a keyboard than just grabbing a pen?  We also saw fewer listening occasions, but longer reported listening when they did tune in according to what they entered in the on-line system.

No doubt there will be tweaking ahead, but it's a great move to at least see the potential of moving beyond the paper diary.