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New York AG Sues Arbitron

Has harsh words for the ratings company's PPM and recent actions.

The attorney general of the state of New York is suing Arbitron for “false and deceptive business practices” that he says “threaten to drive minority broadcasters out of business.”

The news today is the latest development in a quickly evolving fight over the rollout of PPM data in New York and other major markets.

The ratings company has consistently and vigorously defended its technology and the way it has introduced PPM into the market.

Earlier this week it announced that it had “commercialized” its PPM ratings services in eight new markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, doing so despite a push by critics including a number of black and Hispanic broadcast groups who argue that PPM is flawed for various reasons and underrepresents African-Americans and Latinos.

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo filed the lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court, assucing Arbitron of deceptively claiming that its Portable People Meter system is valid, fair and representative of diverse radio markets. He also charges Arbitron with failing to disclose important flaws in the PPM methodology “including serious shortcomings in the accuracy of the new system and its inadequate representation of African-Americans and Latinos.”

Read Cuomo’s detailed statement here.

“Arbitron’s rush to commercialize the PPM system without curing known flaws in the service distorts the marketplace, and threatens to drive minority broadcasters out of business,” he stated. Cuomo wants to stop what he calls the deceptive and illegal practices in marketing the PPM in New York, to make Arbitron pay restitution to minority broadcasters who have lost revenue because of PPM and to adopt measures to cure PPM’s flaws.