A world first is about to be launched in the Netherlands. For the first time, listening will be measured by integrating all platforms (television, radio, press and online) into a single survey, replacing the current standards. This will be carried out by two market research giants, Kantar and Ipsos, which won the tender launched by the investors’ associations. The two companies will work closely together to create the NMO-Nationaal Media Onderzoek (National Media Research). In the course of 2021, the introduction of NMO will take place in phases and the first data will be published, which can be used immediately by agencies, advertisers and media operators. Several systems will be used to accurately map online viewing, reading and listening: for radio, there will be a smartphone app (MediaCell by Ipsos) that passively measures listening behaviour across all devices and platforms, as well as online behaviour with the smartphone. For TV, Kantar’s People Meter 7 will be used. For online, the Focal Meter, a router (with which the sample households will be equipped) will measure all distributed IP content. Additional datasets will be added on those who watch TV via websites and apps on devices other than TV or read newspapers and magazines online.
Since December 2019 The Dutch telecommunication agency (TT-Agentschap Telecom) toughened the penalties for unauthorised radio broadcasting. In the Netherlands, pirate radio stations have been a mass phenomenon since the 60’s. Back then, broadcasters like Radio Caroline introduced beat music on the airwaves. This has resulted in the Dutch being infected with ‘piracy’s virus’ and they started transmitting local folk music, especially in rural areas with radio programmes spoken in dialects. The phenomenon became really big: the Dutch Telecommunication Agency estimated the existence of 10,000 to 60,000 unauthorised broadcasters operating in the country during 1984, this equals to one pirate per 250 inhabitants. The radio stations were operating on shortwave (above the 49 metre band), between 1620 and 1700 kHz (X-Band), and also on FM. The programmes were usually broadcasted on evenings or weekends.
The ‘ghost radio’ signals are going to increase
During 2003, with the first crackdown, the illegal signals decreased by 73% and now, to restrict them further, the minimum penalty has been set at € 2.500.
But why do pirate broadcasters want to transmit over air, when they can easily do it via web?
The reason is the thrill of being caught, according to what one of the protagonists said to Arno Van Der Hoeven, a student that carried out research on this phenomenon in the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture at Rotterdam University.
The hypothesis is a possible increase of ghost signals: to not being caught by authorities, the radio transmitter and antenna are installed on a tree and remotely controlled. When the inspectors find them, they usually only deactivate the equipment without looking for the signal source.
USA: record penalty reached US$ 450.000
Even the United States has its pirate radios. In the US, the coverage area of every radio and television station is set and verified rigorously (due to their model of planning for the over air transmission). And the fines are hefty: the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) imposed a fine of US$ 453.000 to Radio TeleBoston, a station that broadcasts programmes for the Haitian community and operated illegally on 90.1 and 92 MHz (with a total of three transmitters), interfering with other radio stations duly authorised. After some notices have been sent (since 2017), FCC decided to assign the maximum penalty (US$ 151.000) for every transmitter; in the meantime, TeleBoston is asking listeners for donations in order to finance the radio station.