Media research in segmented markets
The ACTS research technique is part of a new telephony revolution which has made a host of new services available to the population. At the heart of these new phone services are powerful and versatile computers capable of answering huge numbers of incoming telephone calls automatically using digital technology. They can play pre-recorded messages down the line, interact with callers, recognise simple words and collect data such as names, addresses, credit card details, competition entries, and answers to research questions. The industry that has grown up to deliver these services is known by a variety of names such as "Audiotex" and "Premium Rates" which refers to the fact that with many such services a percentage of the overall call charge is passed to the organisation providing the information requested by telephone. However, not all automated services are charged at Premium Rate - some are free and others are paid for at the local rate regardless of where the call originates. The ATIEP Guide -1 informs us that "With 28 miliion phones in the UK automated phone response has a huge potential audience, and is one of the fastest growing areas in telecommunications. During the 9 months from April to December 1993 traffic increased 19% by volume and 7% by revenue (BT figs). More than five million calls a week are made to Premium Rate Services alone, generating an estimated £250 million revenue in 1993. The UK now has one of the most mature Premium Rate Service industries in the world.'
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