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Arbitron, California Agree on PPM Suit

Deal is similar to previous pacts with N.Y., N.J., Md., Fla.

Arbitron and the attorney general for California as well as the city attorneys for San Francisco and Los Angeles have settled a lawsuit over the Portable People Meter.

In the suit filed March 21, the attorneys alleged that stations with mostly African-American and Latino listeners saw their ratings drop dramatically since Arbitron moved away from diaries and began measuring audience with PPM in Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernadino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.

As part of the agreement, Arbitron will pay $400,000 to settle all claims and costs and does not admit guilt or wrongdoing.

The settlement is similar to previous agreements with the attorneys general in New Jersey, Maryland, Florida and New York and tracks the pact Arbitron previously made with the Media Rating Council. Arbitron is working with the MRC to achieve accreditation for PPM data in several markets.

The audience ratings measurement firm recommitted to steps meant to increase its overall PPM sample size and include more minorities in that sample.

Some measures have been completed, such as the transition to address-based sample frames, cellphone-only sampling rates, reporting country of origin for Hispanic households and certain other sample performance and demographic information to subscribers by individual ZIP code. Efforts continue to maintain or achieve specific rates of usable PM data and sample performance indicators.

These commitments are consistent with the company’s agreements with other states and are in force through Dec. 31, 2014, or until MRC accreditation is granted, whichever comes first.