A divorce after twenty years or why and how Denmark is leaving the Belson model

Date of publication: June 15, 1988

Author: Sigurd Bennike


The organisation for syndicated media research in Denmark was established in 1967 and it was quite obvious that we should use the Belson model for establishing readership figures. In the Danish organisation all parts interested in the matter are represented: The media owners, the advertising agencies and the advertisers as well as our Audit Bureau of Circulations. In the statutes of Dansk Media Komite it is said among other purposes that we shall do our survey as good as possible taking the international development as our own economy into consideration. As time went on we became aware that the Belson model has some weaknesses which we would like to avoid, and at the same time our problems concerning response rate with the personal interviews were growing, and finally the telephone coverage since the first issue of Dansk Media Index has increased from 57 to 93%. We studied the Dutch disaster and afterwards the success of the Media- Scanner and learned how to do. However in Holland it was some sort of a coincidence that the CATl/FRY-technique was introduced at that time. In Denmark we however have a working organisation where nothing should happen by randomness: The board would before a final decision have the possibility of discussing the consequents of possible big changes in the audiences estimated. At the same time the technical subcommittee first should evaluate the possibilities (risques) of radical alterations and later on make proposals if we should follow the Dutch system totally or make some modifications. The paper describes how the process of decisions took place and the problems we have faced together with the solutions we have chosen.

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