Arbitron took a big step back this week and delayed implementation of its Portable People Meter electronic ratings system in nine major markets.
It did so at the behest of major commercial broadcast and other groups over concerns about whether young listeners and minorities are represented adequately in the meter ratings.
Three of those markets — New York, Nassau-Suffolk and Middlesex-Somerset-Union — were set to go PPM-only next month. Now that will happen in nine months.
Other markets in which Arbitron has slowed its implementation schedule are Los Angeles, Riverside and Chicago, which will see a six-month delay, and San Francisco, San Jose and Dallas, which are seeing a three-month adjustment.
Diary service will be extended in the nine markets while Arbitron works with customers, the Media Rating Council, other industry organizations and community groups on the research and business issues related to the PPM implementation.
Feedback from these groups led the company to conclude that the industry would be better served if the research firm delayed further commercialization of PPM and addressed their issues, stated Arbitron Chairman, President/CEO Steve Morris.
The firm said it has several initiatives in the pipeline for implementation in the first quarter of 2008 that it believes will improve the performance of PPM samples.
The decision does not affect PPM services in Houston and Philadelphia. Arbitron intends to introduce PPM service in Atlanta, Detroit, Washington and in subsequent markets, as originally scheduled.