Nielsen Announces Enhanced CBET Upgrade Schedule

Beyond D.C. and Baltimore next week, additional markets will begin to go live beginning Nov. 2
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Nielsen has set a tentative schedule to upgrade U.S. radio markets to its enhanced CBET. The info was announced in a webinar Thursday.

CBET is at the heart of the firm’s PPM system used in radio ratings, which has been at the center of industry controversy thanks to reported widespread use of the Voltair monitor/processor that seeks to compensate for alleged PPM shortcomings. Earlier this year, as we reported, Nielsen said it planned to increase its “code density” via a software update to existing PPM field encoders to improve the watermark algorithm. It said it would do so for all 11,000 stations; the schedule announced this week is the next step.

The company last week shared its methodology for development and rollout of a new version of its Critical Band Encoding Technology during the Radio Show in Atlanta. Enhanced CBET will go live in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore markets on Monday (Oct. 12).

Now we learn that encoding upgrades will happen in other markets on the following rolling basis (one that the company has made clear is subject to change):

New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver and Seattle are scheduled for Nov. 2; followed by Philadelphia, San Francisco, Detroit, Boston, Providence, Hartford and Salt Lake City on Nov. 5; and Dallas-Fort Worth, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Houston on Nov. 10.

Then Atlanta, Indianapolis, Portland, Phoenix, San Antonio, St. Louis, San Diego and Sacramento will upgrade Nov. 13; Nashville, Memphis, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Norfolk and Raleigh are slated for Nov. 18; and Tampa, Orlando, Austin, Greensboro, Las Vegas, West Palm Beach and Miami will upgrade Nov. 30.

Radio World requested the full list and will post it as soon as it is available.

In its latest webinar, the company also shared best practices for the upgrade, including a caution to not shut off the encoder during this process because that will cause issues and require a new unit to be shipped to your station.

Additionally, Nielsen says stations should upgrade the firmware on the backup encoder before moving on to the primary unit(s). The in-station monitor can be used to ensure that the station continues to encode properly.

The full slide deck will also be available on their website for customers and others with questions to reference.

The company also has said it plans a new encoding monitor for 2016.

Updated rollout schedule, as of 10/9/15: 

Nov. 2: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Seattle

Nov. 5: Philadelphia, San Francisco, Detroit, Boston, Providence, Hartford, Salt Lake City

Nov. 10: Pittsburgh, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Houston-Galveston, Kansas City, Cleveland, Columbus

Nov. 13: Atlanta, Indianapolis, Portland, Phoenix, San Antonio, St. Louis, San Diego, Sacramento

Nov. 18: Nashville, Memphis, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Raleigh

Nov. 30: Tampa, Orlando, Austin, Greensboro, Las Vegas, West Palm Beach, Miami

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