Another of the big broadcast groups has signed on for PPM.
Observers say Arbitron now has all of the top 10 groups behind the technology, and 14 of the top 15.
Entercom inked a deal with Arbitron that covers its 64 stations in markets scheduled to convert during the next three years. The company has 110 stations overall in 23 markets.
Company head David Field noted in a statement that the PPM “is reporting that an average radio station reaches twice as many listeners as the diary has been telling us. If the New York Times were to discover that its readership was twice as large as everyone thought, they would likely stage a parade down Madison Avenue.”
Entercom’s first PPM market is San Francisco. Business analyst Jim Boyle of CL King & Associates reacted by noting the market is scheduled for a September re-launch and this suggests that Entercom “also believes Arbitron is on schedule for its multiple major market launches.”
He also noted Arbitron released data suggesting “solid headway” has been made to increase PPM panel participation levels.
Boyle, who tracks Arbitron as a stock, said, “Despite early, frequent bumps in the PPM rollout, in the long-term (the company) is entrenched as the de facto monopolist in radio research, which allows it to maintain its pricing power with its high-margin radio clients as it begins electronic ratings” and should allow it to resume higher margins and faster growth — though he noted that in the short term, Arbitron still may have to deal with PPM’s impact on ethnic format ratings or if MRC accreditation is temporarily lost in Houston.