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Arbitron Watching Post-Sandy Repercussions

Ratings firm keeping track of how power outages affect diary, meter use for ratings

How is Hurricane Sandy affecting Arbitron’s ability to process diary and Portable People Meter ratings?

So far, so good, according to the company. The audience research firm says it’s been monitoring the impact of the storm, like power outages, on its sample size and make-up for each radio market in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The company is also keeping track of the number of usable diaries and meter panelists, or “in-tab,” in Arbitron parlance.

For PPM, for example, in-tab refers to the number of people who carry their meters at least eight hours in any given day, the minimum to qualify for in-tab. The average carry time is between 14 to 15 hours, spokesman Thom Mocarsky told Radio World. “We install enough people so that if between 75 to 80% of installed panelists meet the eight-hour standard, we will have enough people to meet our in-tab goal.”

For the November Week Three PPM report (Oct. 25–Oct. 31), four markets — New York, Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Nassau-Suffolk, and Philadelphia — are the most significantly impacted by the storm, according to Arbitron in a client note. Early next week, Arbitron will make a decision regarding the delivery of November Week Three for these four markets and publicize that decision the week of Nov. 19.

Right now, for all other PPM markets, Arbitron plans to deliver the November Week Three report as previously scheduled, beginning Monday, Nov. 19, and it plans to deliver the November Monthly PPM reports as scheduled, beginning Tuesday, Nov. 27.

At this time, there are no changes planned for the publication schedule for the Fall Phase 2 Arbitrends reports or the Fall 2012 diary survey reports.