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Arbitron Restarts PPM Commercialization

Arbitron Restarts PPM Commercialization

Jun 17, 2008 5:19 PM

New York – Jun 12, 2008 – Arbitron will resume the commercialization of its Portable People Meter (PPM) radio ratings service in eight markets. Steve Morris, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Arbitron said, “We have improved our PPM samples in the four key areas we outlined last November. We have enhanced our ability to deliver PPM sample targets. We’ve improved the composition of our PPM panels, especially among the 18-34 demographic. We’ve raised the day-to-day cooperation rate of our PPM respondents. We’ve also put in place a number of programs designed to have a positive impact on response rates. Our commitment to continuous improvement means that we will keep working on these metrics as we go forward.”

Arbitron also notes it has been “working diligently with the Media Rating Council in order to achieve MRC accreditation” for the PPM in all Arbitron markets.

New York, Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Jose will commercialize with the release of the September PPM survey report on Oct. 8, 2008. On that date, the company’s diary-based radio ratings will be withdrawn from those eight markets and radio transactions among Arbitron-subscribing stations and agencies will take place solely using PPM-based radio ratings.

Arbitron will deliver pre-currency PPM survey reports for Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino and Chicago with a special release of the June PPM survey report in mid-July, and with the regular release of the July PPM survey report on Aug. 13 and the August PPM survey report on Sept. 10. Arbitron will deliver pre-currency PPM survey reports for San Francisco and San Jose with the release of the July PPM survey report on Aug. 13 and the August PPM survey report on Sept. 10.

Arbitron commercialized the PPM ratings service in Philadelphia in March 2007 and Houston-Galveston in July 2007. In addition, PPM technology is currently being used for radio and/or television measurement in Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Canada and Singapore.

In the revised PPM commercialization schedule released by Arbitron in November 2007, Arbitron indicated an expected commercialization of the PPM ratings service in Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Detroit and Washington D.C. in December 2008. Arbitron is not altering that expectation at this time.

The Arbitron plan was announced at the same time as the Spanish Radio Association (SRA) was formed. The SRA is a coalition of Hispanic radio broadcasters including Spanish Broadcasting System, Entravision, Univision and Border Media. The group has concerns with the PPM data and believes it is flawed, the radio group said in a statement that the rollout of the measurement system in major U.S. Hispanic markets may have a harmful effect on the marketplace. Among key issues cited during the meeting were: concerns about the PPM’s panel sample size, the increase in response rates, accurately identifying and tracking panelists by country of origin, language weighting, mobile phone-only usage, fair measurement in high-density Hispanic areas, sharing of sample information, meter placement by zip codes and documented versus undocumented listeners, per the industry group.