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Internet Research


What Has to Happen Before You Should Consider Internet Research?

I love the idea of Internet research. It is, I hope, no more than a question of timing. Is the time now? Probably, for almost all of you, the answer is 'no'.

The reason is that two things have to work: You have to avoid a self-selected sample and you have to avoid a non-representative sample. Most people feel that to this date an Internet sample falls down badly on both counts. Carolyn Gilbert, who is in charge of research for the massive Clear Channel radio group, was quoted in R&R as explaining that the benefit of callout includes "reaching the passives, the peripheral cume and those who, while responsive to research, would probably never go out of their way to log onto a Web site to give their opinion."

Jodie Renk of Core Call Out addresses the other sampling issue, saying "It is impossible to economically find a random, not self-selected sample of this target using the Web."

In truth, you'll find some people quoted in the trades saying positive things about Internet research. But you'll notice that they all have financial interests in Internet research companies. Hmm... The researchers I quoted above are among the most respected in US radio, and I can guarantee nobody wants to see research costs come down or for new avenues to open up than those two.








But in the future, I feel confident this will change. That is because I'm reasonably confident that the Internet is here to stay, and that broadband - which is really very important to making the Internet interesting to average listeners - will continue to make inroads.

How will you know that things are getting to the point where you need to consider playing with Internet research?

First, if you are a young, male-oriented station, you will go first. The rest of us will watch and wait.

Eventually, younger, male-oriented stations will make it a "normal" thing for them, as their audience will be the first to become so involved with the Internet that the ones who are available for music testing over the Net will be very much like those we find over the telephone. And, these will be the first listeners who are both very involved with the music and also care very much to share their opinions about it. They will be the first to go to the extra trouble to do a music test using their computer.

Until these early adopters kick in, and the stations achieve undeniably positive results using this as their link to the tastes of their audience, no other group of listeners needs to be considered for Internet testing. The rest of us can wait. But keep an eye on those guys!