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Ray­com Me­dia will use other re­search to track KGMB and KHNL au­di­ences >>

The on­go­ing Novem­ber “sweeps,” or Nielsen rat­ing pe­riod that ends Nov. 25, will be the last in which Hawaii News Now par­tic­i­pates.

Alabama-based Ray­com Me­dia — par­ent com­pany of Hawaii News Now’s KGMB-TV and KHNL-TV — an­nounced sim­i­lar moves in 23 mar­kets, said Rick Blan­gia­rdi, gen­eral man­ager of KGMB and KHNL. The move to sever ties with Nielsen at year’s end also will af­fect Hawaii News Now sta­tion KFVE-TV, li­censed to Vir­ginia-based HITV Li­cense Sub­sidiary Inc. KGMB and KHNL are Hawaii’s CBS and NBC af­fil­i­ates, re­spec- tively, while KFVE is in­de­pen­dent.

“We’re go­ing to be much more re­search-driven go­ing for­ward,” Blan­gia­rdi said, turn­ing to re­search “to pro­vide for our ad­ver­tis­ers the kind of qual­ity in­for­ma­tion they are look­ing for” that the cur­rent au­di­ence mea­sure­ment model doesn’t of­fer.

Nielsen for gen­er­a­tions had been con­sid­ered the bible of au­di­ence mea­sure­ment among tele­vi­sion net­works, in­de­pen­dently owned sta­tions and com­pa­nies that ad­ver­tise on tele­vi­sion.

Hawaii au­di­ence mea­sure­ment data is gath­ered by Nielsen us­ing printed book­lets, known as diaries, which are sent to house­holds that agree to write down their view­ing habits over rat­ing pe­ri­ods in Fe­bru­ary, May and Novem­ber. Nielsen uses elec­tronic means to mea­sure rat­ings in many large main­land mar­kets.

For a re­cent sur­vey, 11,400 diaries were mailed to house­holds, but only 914 diaries were filled out and re­turned, ac­cord­ing to the re­sult­ing rat­ings re­port.

Ray­com said, “The an­ti­quated diary data is so un­sta­ble that it bears ques­tion­able re­sem­blance to the ef­fec­tive­ness of an ad­ver­tis­ing sched­ule, or its ef­fi­ciency.”

Rather than use Nielsen data, Ray­com and Hawaii News Now will in­crease the scope and fre­quency of cus­tom­ized re­search it re­ceives from Penn­syl­va­nia-based Mar­shall Mar­ket­ing & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc.

The sta­tions have in­vited ad agen­cies and oth­ers to pre­sen­ta­tions this week to ex­plain their new strat­egy.

Com­peti­tor KHON-TV, Hawaii’s Fox and CW af­fil­i­ate, has no im­me­di­ate plans to dis­con­tinue use of the Nielsens.

“Nielsen is the cur­rency which lo­cal ad­ver­tis­ers use to de­ter­mine tele­vi­sion au­di­ences in Honolulu … (and) is the only re­li­able source we have right now that takes a large enough, un­bi­ased sam­ple size,” said Kristina Lock­wood, KHON pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager.

It is pos­si­ble KHON will turn to an­other method of au­di­ence mea­sure­ment in the fu­ture. “We hope to con­sider other mea­sure­ment op­tions which uti­lize set-top box data, and more real-time data, so we can bet­ter understand our au­di­ence trends and re­spond to the needs of our view­ers.”

KITV Pres­i­dent and Gen­eral Man­ager Joe McNa­mara could not be reached. KITV is the ABC-TV af­fil­i­ate.

“The core Nielsen sys­tem was de­vel­oped when peo­ple had just three or four sta­tions to choose from, and now they have hun­dreds,” noted Den­nis Chris­tian­son, CEO of An­thol­ogy Mar­ket­ing Group, which creates and places ad­ver­tis­ing for com­pa­nies and en­ti­ties across all me­dia plat­forms in Hawaii and be­yond.

“The tech­nol­ogy of (Nielsen’s) re­search hasn’t kept pace with the tech­nol­ogy of me­dia consumption,” Chris­tian­son said.

Th­ese days, net­work, lo­cal and ca­ble pro­gram­ming can be watched on mul­ti­ple plat­forms, whether on TV screens, com­puter mon­i­tors, tablets or smart­phones, to name the ob­vi­ous ones.

“By all counts, clearly there have got to be some bet­ter ways of do­ing this, but we’re not wise enough to tell you what that is,” Chris­tian­son said. “We look for­ward to Nielsen, and Ray­com and ev­ery­one else to tell us what the next step is, and we’ll sup­port which­ever is ac­cu­rate … in or­der to cre­ate ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing plans for our clients.”

There was a time when, if you heard about break­ing news, you would try to find out more from a trusted col­league or rel­a­tive, “or maybe go to a small tran­sis­tor ra­dio,” to try and learn more, Blan­gia­rdi said. “You had to go and seek that news and in­for­ma­tion out and, in some cases, even wait for it” to be aired on tele­vi­sion that night or pub­lished in the pa­per the next day, he said.

“To­day there is a mind­set that ‘if it is news­wor­thy, it will come to me.’ That is a ma­jor shift in be­hav­ior, on a global ba­sis,” Blan­gia­rdi ob­served, and that change in con­sumer be­hav­ior needs to be mea­sured and quan­ti­fied a dif­fer­ent way.

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