A survey conducted on behalf of Global Radio in its takeover attempt of Real and Smooth has been labelled as “poor quality” and “particularly unreliable”.
Those are the views of Sheila Robinson, from Marketing Research Consultancy Sheila Robinson Associates when asked to look at a report commissioned by RBB Economics on behalf of Slaughter and May who are acting for Global Radio.
After meeting with YouGov and analysing data provided by RBB and YouGov, Sheila Robinson says: “It is my view that the research conducted (for an “Existing Customers” survey) is of poor quality and that the Competition Commission should be very cautious about the use of this research data in decision making.”
RBB is a specialised consultancy, focusing solely on competition law matters.
The technical report states “As agreed with Slaughter and May, the method used in this research was Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) and the interviews themselves were carried out by YouGov’s field units”.
But this was proved incorrect by Sheila Robinson: “I understand that the research was sub-contracted to Indiefield, a separate market research company, who did all the fieldwork and provided a clean datafile to YouGov.”
Shelia continued: “The quality was generally disappointing; with some interviewers appearing to rush through questions (not reading out the questions in full) and different interviewers asking the same question in different ways (different levels of prompting and low adherence to the interviewer instructions).
“From my observations and analysis, there are three factors which cause concern about the reliability of this survey as a decision making tool – The low level of correct questioning at qn 11 (only 1 in 10 asked consistently correctly), the disproportionate amount of interviewing accounted for by one person, and that this was unevenly spread across regions, and that person’s interviewing style generated a significantly different response on qn 11 to that for the other interviewers.
“This suggests that the survey was inconsistently conducted and that the level of interviewer bias is high. The responses to questions are likely to be a function of who asked them and how they were asked rather than being able to rely on assuming the questionnaire was fielded as
“On a regional basis, where sample sizes are small anyway, this makes the survey data particularly unreliable.”
Global Radio had no comment on the matter when asked by RadioToday.
The Competition Commission published this report on its website on Friday 15th February, which you can read in full here.
Last week, provisional findings said the Commission believe there may be an issue with Global Radio’s takeover of Real and Smooth Ltd, which they define as a Substantial Lessening of Competition in seven areas – East Midlands, Cardiff, North Wales, Manchester, The North East, South & West Yorkshire and Scotland.