RAJAR Moves To Have MacKenzie Law Suit Thrown Out

RAJAR Moves To Have MacKenzie Law Suit Thrown Out

Radio ratings body RAJAR is today going to the High Court to persuade a judge to throw out a lawsuit from Kelvin MacKenzie’s Wireless Group which claims that alleged research “flaws” have under estimated the size of its audiences.

Lawyers for RAJAR will argue that the audience measurement body’s recent decision not to immediately introduce electronic audio-meters did not constitute an “abuse of competition law”, as claimed by MacKenzie and his radio group.

MacKenzie believes he should be entitled to damages on the grounds that the alleged “inaccuracy” of RAJAR’s current diary method of audience measurement is causing his flagship talkSPORT station to lose millions of pounds in advertising revenue (see MacKenzie To Claim £66 Million In Damages From RAJAR).

The outspoken former Sun editor claims that the number of people who listen to his national talkSPORT station is more than three times greater than RAJAR figures suggest. He is pushing for the radio ratings body to replace its audience measurement system.

RAJAR is campaigning to have MacKenzie’s case struck out before it can be bought to trial next year. A spokesperson for the company said: “We believe these claims to be false and without foundation and that the case lacks credibility. We are confident that our decision did not breach competition laws and we are going to defend it with the utmost vigour.”

MacKenzie’s dissatisfaction with RAJAR’s officially sanctioned audience figures recently prompted him to back GfK’s National Broadcast Survey, which uses a specially-enabled wristwatch device to electronically measure both television and radio audiences (see New Study To Shake-Up Audience Measurement?).

He claims this system provides a more accurate picture of radio listening by focusing on actual exposure, rather than audience recall. The latest RAJAR figures put talkSPORT’s weekly reach at just under 2.2 million, but GfK’s fledgling electronic survey claims the station reaches almost 6.4 million listeners.

RAJAR’s appeal will begin at 2pm this afternoon and the hearing looks likely to drag on over the next few days. The judge can decide to either throw the case out, request more time to consider his judgement, or send the case trial. An announcement is expected later this week.

Last month RAJAR revealed its intention to carry out what it claims are “pioneering” tests of three different audiometers as part of plans to upgrade its existing diary system of audience measurement to a new electronic method by 2007. The Audiometer Validation Test will take place this month to determine how well the Arbitron Portable Meter, the Eurisko NOP World Media Media Monitor and the GfK/Telecontrol MediaWatch measure listening to 33 different radio stations (see RAJAR To Carry Out ‘Pioneering’ Audiometer Tests).

RAJAR: 020 7903 535 www.rajar.co.uk

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