Arbitron “dropped the ball” in smaller diary markets; that’s why its customers Cumulus and Clear Channel shifted part of their audience measurement business to Nielsen for its new sticker diary.
That’s according to new Arbitron CEO Michael Skarzynski, who struck a contrite but confident tone, telling reporters this week he has apologized to the media companies and vowed to win back their business.
Skarzynski told the press and Wall Street analysts he plans to improve the corporate culture at Arbitron, such as improving response time.
He’s also planning a reorganization and cuts in expenses and staff, which he expects to complete by the end of this quarter; Skarzynski said he doesn’t envision “significant” layoffs.
The news about expense cuts comes after the public company reported that fourth quarter net income was $3.4 million compared with $3.7 million for the same period a year ago. The company cited unexpected cost for implementing PPM in new markets and legal costs associated with the lawsuits filed by the attorney generals in New York and New Jersey.
Related to those suits — filed on behalf of the National Black Owned Broadcasters and the Spanish Radio Broadcaster Association over the sample size for minority panelists in PPM panels — Skarzynski said he has been visiting customers and said he’s met with NABOB and SRBA in particular.
Noting the tough economic times for stations, Skarzynski said Arbitron needs to be a cheerleader for the radio industry and “take it from its current levels … and make this a $22 billion industry” by talking up radio’s reach to advertisers and ad agencies.