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Chasing Non-Encoded Stations, Arbitron Tests Audio Matching for PPM

Chasing Non-Encoded Stations, Arbitron Tests Audio Matching for PPM

Arbitron says it is field testing the addition of an audio matching capability to the Portable People Meter system which would allow it to track audiences to stations that don’t encode their signals.
“The dual-function meter is capable of identifying a radio station using two methods of detection using existing Portable People Meter hardware,” Arbitron stated.
“First, a dual-function PPM can detect inaudible codes in the audio of stations that are equipped with the Arbitron PPM encoder. In addition, a dual-function PPM can also collect audio signatures for any radio station, which are later matched to signatures collected by an in-market monitoring system.”
Arbitron said its test is designed to calibrate listening estimates produced by audio matching to those produced by the PPM encoding system for the same stations.
The ratings company, competing for the industry’s electronic ratings business, said it has also downloaded updated versions of audio-matching software into current-generation PPMs in the hands of the 50 former panelists who are participating in the dual-function field test.
“Delivered through household phone lines, the software upgrade demonstrated that Arbitron could remotely convert ‘encoding-only’ portable meters to ‘dual-function’ audience meters,” it said.
The company said the goal is “to ensure that our audio matching results are consistent with those we have achieved and validated using the encoding/decoding technology.”