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New York AG Asks Questions About PPM

Subpoenas PPM-related documents back to 2003.

As Arbitron prepares to expand its Portable People Meter markets on Oct. 8, it finds the New York attorney general and the New York City Council asking questions about the veracity of the PPM methodology.

Last week, we reported the FCC is also taking comments on whether PPM undercounts Hispanics or blacks, as alleged by some broadcast groups, but has not yet decided whether to open an investigation.

The attorney general for the state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has begun an investigation into the Arbitron PPM, saying in a letter to company Chairman/President/CEO Steve Morris that he’s concerned the PPM “may have a dramatically negative impact on minority broadcasting in New York.”

In a subpoena issued this week, Cuomo’s office requested PPM documents dating back to 2003. The paperwork is due Sept. 19.

Responding to the subpoena, Arbitron said in a statement that the PPM is more accurate than the diary.

“The company maintains that its Portable People Meter radio ratings service is fair, reliable and fully represents the diversity of New York radio markets. The media industry has demanded a more precise and credible measurement tool for radio just as they have for other media.”

The AG’s list of requested documents includes those mentioning the Media Rating Council, created by Congress to audit and accredit media ratings services. Arbitron said the media industry should be “concerned about attempts to supplant or short-circuit” that process.