Mediapulse: Radio and TV research definitely SRG-independent

The Mediapulse Group, which is responsible for radio and TV research in Switzerland, was able to break away completely from its (former) parent SRG in only its third full financial year. The foundation, which emerged from the SRG research service in 2006, had taken over both the radio and TV panels from SRG at the start - this in the form of a loan of CHF 4.2 million.

In 2010, it has now paid back the last installment of around CHF 1.5 million to SRG. "Today, the Mediapulse Group is debt-free," CEO Manuel Dähler was therefore able to announce at the Mediapulse annual press conference.

Cluster risk with 4 major customers
Mediapulse had been pushing for repayment from the outset in order to reduce its dependence on its former parent company as quickly as possible. Even without the loan, Mediapulse is heavily dependent on SRG, as SRG and its marketing subsidiary Publisuisse are its two biggest data customers. The third largest data buyer is Goldbach Media, followed at some distance by Tamedia (Belcom). These four companies account for 80 percent of Mediapulse's total customer revenue, said head of marketing Gregor J. Eschle.

In the 2010 financial year, the Berne-based research group generated income of 18.9 million francs, almost one million francs or 4.4 percent less than in 2009. The main reason for the decline: each year, the foundation can apply to the federal government for around 2 million francs for investments in its panel, but in 2010 Mediapulse drew significantly fewer federal grants than in the previous year. However, the contributions that the foundation did not exhaust (to date, a total of about CHF 1.7 million) do not expire; they can be drawn for larger investments at a later date.

Well positioned for panel investments
This should be the case as early as next year. Because as of Jan. 1, 2013, Mediapulse wants to renew its TV panel called Telecontrol, which has 1918 households under measurement throughout Switzerland. "We are well equipped for this upcoming investment," Dähler said, referring to the figures. He expects the panel renewal to cost a high single-digit million amount. Currently, the evaluation among three system providers is underway (see news item "Mediapulse: Television and radio go mobile"). The reason for the renewal: The current TV panel cannot measure time-shifted TV, nor can it measure Web TV (live streaming via Zattoo or Wilmaa, for example). The Telecontrol system can therefore not collect about 8 percent of today's TV usage, estimates Dähler. This gap is to be closed with the new panel.

Web radio usage as of July 1, 2012 under measurement
The radio panel has similar problems, and currently also has a measurement gap of around 8 percent. Of this, 2 percent is accounted for by time-shifted radio listening and 6 percent by live streaming via the Internet. Of the streaming share, however, Web stations from abroad account for about a third, Dähler says. Mediapulse wants to at least get a grip on live radio streaming from mid-2012 ? with an adjustment to the Mediawatch measurement device, a wristwatch worn by 1012 people every week. This system can currently only measure stations whose acoustic signal arrives at the receiver with a maximum delay of 3 seconds (via FM, cable, satellite, DAB and DAB+). Live streaming, however, occurs with longer and, above all, fluctuating delays. This is why the Mediawatch system is now being modified so that it can also detect and correctly assign reception delays of 60 seconds. So live radio streaming should then be included in the measurement data for the second half of 2012. They will be published in mid-January 2013. (Markus Knöpfli)

Mediapulse: Television and radio go mobile

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