EIGHT Hongkong advertising agencies have invested in a new software system that will allow them to perform comprehensive analyses of radio audiences in Hongkong. Radioscope, the new program from Survey Research Hongkong (SRH), is intended to help advertising agencies plan their campaigns in a more professional manner. The eight buyers were representative of the industry as a whole, according to Mr Steve Garton, SRH's media research director. They include Leo Burnett, Ogilvy and Mather and J. Walter Thompson, the territory's three largest agencies, together with McCann-Erickson, BSB, Lintas, DDB Needham and Bozell. ''The response to Radioscope has been very much as we expected,'' Mr Garton said. ''There are a number of the larger agencies who are substantial enough users of radio to feel the purchase is warranted - plus several smaller agencies.'' At a price of $7,000 for the existing software and data, Radioscope is hardly cost-prohibitive. Its introduction marks the first time radio has been delivered on software to Hongkong advertising agencies, allowing them to plan campaigns in a professional manner up to world standards. ''We wanted to buy it because there is renewed interest in radio in Hongkong as an advertising medium and we need a way of monitoring listeners,'' executive media director of Bozell, Mr Mark Ingall, said. ''Radio is the fastest growing medium in the territory, its advertising spend and share of the market are up. We had to have research,'' he said. ''Access to the data is very useful,'' media director of Lintas, Ms Janet Fitzpatrick, said. ''It is a user-friendly system which enables us to manipulate data for tighter more accurate planning. ''We have only had it in place for a week but so far the feedback is good.'' Radioscope was originally offered as part of the syndicated research tender last year and subsequent discussions with agencies and the 4As, including demonstrations of its capabilities, led to its development. Results were obtained from fieldwork carried out by SRH for Metro Broadcast last autumn. The agencies have bought these results on Radioscope, effectively buying the software, with Metro providing the data free. While the agencies have been at liberty to approach Metro and ask for analysis of specific parts of the station's survey data, it makes more sense for them to buy Radioscope. ''If they have the software in-house, they can play with it, run all sorts of combination buys, analyse the results and experiment,'' Mr Garton said. ''By going direct to Metro they have to ask for analysis of specific spots at specific times, then go back and examine the findings, then return to Metro and fine-tune. ''It is much easier to refine campaigns on the spot and look at target audiences with Radioscope in-house. It is more convenient and the investment is only modest.'' However, those agencies that have not bought Radioscope are not necessarily ignoring what has been claimed to be the biggest development in radio audience measurement so far in Hongkong. If the agencies only occasionally plan radio campaigns, they will make far swifter progress by contacting Metro directly for planning information. Early discussions between the stations - as reported last week - concerning the possibility of syndicated radio research in Hongkong this year, may affect the next set of data supplied via Radioscope, said Mr Garton. ''We encourage and support any moves to assist in setting up syndicated research. It is a hard currency that everyone invests in and uses and we will be active in every way we can to put together a radio study,'' he said. ''But Radioscope provides the form for the data to be analysed. We would be reluctant to provide it if we had not done the original research, as there is a lot of complex maths in the processing and we would need to check any anomalies that might arise in the fieldwork.'' ''I have never used Radioscope before but any analysis which can prove radio is an effective medium is good,'' said Mr Samson Yau, director of sales and Marketing at Commerical Radio. ''Commerical Radio's research supplier, Marketing Decisions Research, is developing its own software which will be available later this year.'' MDR's analysis program is based on a Commercial Radio's survey carried out last autumn. Unlike SRH's Radioscope, MDR's software is expected to include an optimisation program which will allow an advertiser to calculate how to place advertising spots in order to get maximum reach with available budget. SRH's Radioscope has an option for an optimisation program, but Mr Garton questioned whether optimisation programs were user-friendly.