Thoughts of Media Research Pioneer Shin Hae-jin

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Thoughts of Media Research Pioneer Shin Hae-jin

Known as a pioneer in media research in Korea, Shin Hae-jin(54), executive manager of AC Nielsen Korea, resigned from her post on April 30.

Shin has been playing an important role in audience survey research since its start here in 1991. At that time, she was put in charge of Retail Index research at AC Nielsen. However, since then, Ms.Shin has concentrated her sights on audience rating after leaving AC Nielsen and joining the Media Service Korea team(MSK).

MSK merged with AC Nielsen Korea allowing Shin to return to the Nielsen group. But, instead she decided to leave the comfort of the company and start up her own business, an e-business.

"During the past ten years since my start in the industry, I always had the feeling that I was consistently butting my head against a brick wall. Especially at the beginning, we had to completely set up and introduce the concept of an audience rating system," said Ms.Shin. At this time, there was a great amount of concern and interference from broadcast companies about the survey methods and the results. "There were a lot of people rejecting our survey results and some in the industry unable or unwilling to differentiate between objective and subjective data. It was intolerable for me to hear the almost constant doubting of our research methods," remembers Shin. "I remember some advertising directors begging me to make the related audience rating results higher," she added.

Shin explained how they conduct surveys and polls. "The number of families(called as the sample audience) for an area to be surveyed is not, of course, at first glance representative of the area in question. At the start of our survey, we have to distinguish if the group living in that area is simple or complex. For example, Seoul with its myriad of dialects and languages is classified as a 'simple' area with little deviation in the results regardless of the sample size, whether large or small," said Shin.

From one of her personal anecdote on the media industry, Shin said, "I can't name names, but there was a 'group' that wanted to (and did) broadcast potentially very 'explosive' controversial content in order to bump up their audience ratings." Shin's take on this was that the programme in question couldn't possibly continue to do well with only this "momentary spike in audience ratings" based on sensationalism rather than securing its viewing audience through quality.

A graduate of French literature from Ewha Women's University and business major at the University of Toronto, she was a reporter for the CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before returning to Korea.

by Jung Jae-wal

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