Will any of the PPM-encoded stations in D.C. and Baltimore — markets where Nielsen has tested its enhanced CBET system and plans to launch it officially — also be using Voltair boxes? If so, how will this affect Nielsen ratings results? It’s a question being pressed by Jay Brentlinger, president/CEO of processor manufacturer Orban, a competitor to 25-Seven Systems/Telos, which makes the Voltair.
He spoke briefly and emotionally to Nielsen’s Matt O’Grady immediately after Nielsen’s presentation here at the Radio Show and a prior presentation by 25-Seven. Brentlinger expressed displeasure that more information isn’t forthcoming about which stations use Voltair, which ones do not, and how Nielsen can assure a level ratings playing field among stations if that information isn’t factored into its process.
Nielsen had just reviewed its testing on a dozen stations and its plan to roll out an enhanced version of its Critical Band Encoding Technology, a key component of its PPM ratings ecosystem. The presentation was an update and review of information imparted by Nielsen in a client webinar late this summer, on which RW has reported. Audio processor manufacturers have been watching this debate with keen interest, given that it involves the creation, manipulation and monitoring of station audio air chains.
When Brentlinger animatedly tried to raise his questions after the Nielsen presentation here in Atlanta, O’Grady exchanged business cards but asked to communicate later about Brentlinger’s concerns.
Speaking to reporters after that conversation, Brentlinger said he didn’t find it credible that Nielsen has been testing its updated software without knowing which stations use the controversial Voltair processor/monitor, which he said he’s been told. He said that until this point in the PPM/Voltair debate, Orban has stood on the sidelines but that he wondered if his company should consider building watermark enhancements as well, and doing so as a standard feature it its processors.
Officials from Nielsen and 25-Seven were not immediately available for comment.