The contribution of qualitative audience research for programming and market segmentation

Date of publication: July 1, 1995


"Radio NRW" is the biggest private radio station in Germany. It is broadcasted in the state of Northrhine-Westfalia (NRW) and thus it is competing against some of the public programmes, that have a huge competitive potential. It is therefore vital to put intensive care into research, in order to detect market potentials and hidden risks. To find out the reasons for programme appreciation and radio listener's expectations are some of the main objectives for research. One of the research strategies that were chosen to guarantee the best information level for the programme management is described in this paper. Quantitative research was found containing too little information to really understand the market mechanics. Therefore a qualitative research design was developed and brought into the field in order to explore the needs of actual and potential listenerships. With an advanced psychological theory of motivation forming the theoretical basis depth interviews uncovered the structure of psychological values that are - or are not - satisfied by radio programmes. It was found that we can discriminate 5 types of radio listeners or listening attitudes that explain most of the programme preferences. With this information at hands research was able to find a strengths/weaknesses profile for the competitors in terms of market exploitation. The paper describes the steps of this research process and explains the value of some of the findings.

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