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Arbitron: PPM Is Really Happening

Arbitron: PPM Is Really Happening

Arbitron is prepared to go forward with the Portable People Meter with or without participation from Nielsen, if that’s what radio wants, company executives said Thursday at a programming consultants meeting.
Although the audience measurement firm would prefer to have Nielsen’s monetary and resource support for the PPM, it doesn’t yet have a commitment from the TV measurement company.
“For something as important as audience measurement, we can’t leave that decision to somebody else,” said Arbitron President of U.S. Media Services Owen Charlebois.
The rollout of PPM in this country is more a matter of “when,” not “if,” he said.
The company is conducting a retail encoding test in Philadelphia through the end of this year. The idea is to see where a PPM radio listener shops, for how long and what that individual purchases so stations can provide advertisers with more quantifiable information for how their spots work.
Arbitron is close to announcing its second test market. Programmers had requested a market with a significant Hispanic population. That test, comparing PPM listneing to traditional diary listening, is slated to begin at the end of 2004.
Arbitron hopes to begin commercial rollout of PPM beginning in markets #11 and smaller in 2006. Arbitron station customers in those markets would have a choice of measurement systems, PPM-only or a combination of PPM and diaries.
Despite plans for a PPM rollout in some markets the traditional diary will not go away, and the company would continue to support that product, said SVP/GM Arbitron Radio Scott Musgrave.