EVI- Ear Value Index

In order to appreciate why EVI is so vitally important to the advertising and marketing industries, as well as every business with a co-ordinated digital media strategy, you have to understand the two traditional systems for calculating audience size:


The radio industry uses RAJAR- which stands for Radio Joint Audience Research- the official body in charge of radio audience measurement in the UK since 1992. RAJAR collects information on behalf of over 300 UK stations ranging from very small local services to the large national networks. Each week 2000 people are recruited, at random, to keep a diary of a week of their listening. The volunteers make a note of the radio station they listened to, for how long and where the listening took place. This process is repeated each week with different volunteers and at the end of a three-month period the numbers are aggregated to produce listening figures for each individual station.RAJAR are proud of the fact that annually over 100,000 people participate in this diary keeping process making it- "one of the largest media studies in the world".

In the digital age RAJAR must also be acknowledged as one of the most misleading and inaccurate surveys ever presented to the people of the United Kingdom.The view its “the best system we currently have” doesn’t mean its reliable.

Also the fact this survey is presented every 3 months as a work of great informational accuracy its particularly disturbing because it influences  millions of pounds of advertising spending. The figures produced by RAJAR are used by commercial radio stations to justify their advertising rates and by the BBC to justify its licence fee.

So let’s consider RAJARs own figures:

The 2011 UK census had the total UK population at 63 million, approximately 13 million are children. So, for the purposes of assessing the accuracy of the UK radio listening figures the  number of adults available for the survey is 50 million. Each week RAJAR ask 2000 of these people to tell them what they are listening to, how they are listening, when and for how long- which equates to a survey of 0.004% of the population.

Yes, multi-million pound media decisions are based on a diary kept by 0.004% of the UK population.  If you think that’s a ridiculous way for businesses to make vital advertising and marketing decisions consider the way TV viewing figures are calculated.


BARB- standing for Broadcasters Audience Research Board- was founded in 1981 to provide audience measurement for broadcasters and the advertising industry. BARB is owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, BSkyB and the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) and they collect data from the 26 million "TV households" in the UK. Yes, the organisation that provides the  data which is vital to the successful operation of the major broadcasters is actually funded by the major broadcasters!

Anyway, BARB uses a’ carefully selected panel of private homes’…’ representative of the whole of the UK’. These homes are then equipped with meters which measure their viewing habits.

This survey of viewing habits involves a massive (compared with RAJAR)  0.019% of the UK population.

In contrast to RAJAR and BARB we online media operators know exactly the number of consumers we are attracting, how long they are engaged, how often, where they are geographically and on which device they are accessing the media.

On the basis of the RAJAR and BARB survey models it is not unreasonable to assume that historic TV viewing and radio listening figures are inaccurate and almost certainly wildly optimistic.

Furthermore these figures do not take into account the holy grail of marketing and advertising- consumer engagement. There is a massive difference between hearing and listening and seeing and viewing. In the case of a traditional radio station they may claim  their breakfast show has 50,000 listeners but how many of these consumers are just ‘hearing' the sounds and how many are actually engaged in ‘listening’?

Industry analysts suggest consumers feel 80% of traditional radio station content is of absolutely no relevance to them at all. They don’t like all the music, they’re not interested in most of the news, traffic and travel seldom relates to their own activities, and much of the spoken content does not reflect their own interests. It’s not difficult to see that much of traditional radio with its “ spray and pray” principle  fails to engage the consumer. Indeed, ‘Tradrad' has an EVI of 20% and this is likely,given present consumer trends, to decline further.

However, with Genre-casting the consumer is in a space of their choosing,constantly engaging with relevant content with the result they are relaxed, receptive to messaging and keen to interact. This is what is called the EVI- the Ear Value Index. By the nature of genre-casting the EVI is always 100%.


Lets take a very straightforward example of the EVI in the UK city of Bristol.

Sam FM is one of the independent local radio stations for the city and as with most UK commercial radio stations the breakfast show is the peak listening time. Sam has a total RAJAR assessed weekly audience of 93,000- any impartial media analyst would say they are probably achieving half of this figure, but in the spirit of positivity let’s increase this to 50,000 and attribute this peak to the breakfast show.  Media analysts conclude that radio listeners regard 80% of any radio stations' content to be totally irrelevant to them and therefore they switch off their ears. They may ‘hear' but they don’t ‘listen'. So the Sam FM-EVI-for advertisers in Bristol is actually 10,000.

Positively Bristol, the first UK city station launched by  Positivity Radio World in December 2015, is on course to have 10,000+ listeners within its first year of operations. As an internet genre-caster its EVI already puts it on level terms with a long established UK commercial radio station owned by one of the largest UK media groups.

This then produces a fascinating question for Bristol based businesses- Why would you spend say, £30,000 on a Sam FM advertising campaign, when for £50 a week you can tell your business stories and achieve a better consumer engagement on Positively Bristol?

Oh, and Positively Bristol’s audience is growing, Sam FM's is declining year on year.

Multi-million pound spending decisions, by broadcasters and advertisers alike, are made on the basis of a RAJAR survey of just 0.004% of the UK population.




RAJAR asks people to keep a weekly pen and paper diary of their listening habits.






"It's the best we currently have to work with"






Businesses are totally seduced by listening and viewing numbers. They should ignore who listens and views, and focus on who HEARS and SEES






Analysts say radio listeners find 80% of the content on most stations is totally irrelevant to them which produces an EVI of 20%. Compare that to a Genre casting station where listener engagement is 100%.






TRAD-RAD has an EVI of 20% and given current consumer trends this is likely to decline rapidly in the next few years