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Technical Glitch Causes Arbitron to Extend PPM Trial

Technical Glitch Causes Arbitron to Extend PPM Trial

A technical problem involving one encoder at a Philadelphia station does not represent a flaw in the PPM technology.
So says Arbitron in announcing it will extend the ratings comparison portion of the PPM market trial in Philly after discovering the problem.
“We are going to provide the industry with additional ratings comparisons that will coincide with the Arbitron Winter 2003 radio survey period and the Nielsen Media Research January, February and March 2003 local market television survey periods,” the company said in a statement about its Portable People Meter.
It said technicians discovered that the audio input to the KYW(AM) encoder was not set to the appropriate level, “which may have inhibited the encoder’s performance” during several ratings periods. KYW and Arbitron fixed the problem in November.
“We’re giving the radio and television industry and ourselves an additional three months of ratings comparisons to determine if out-of-spec encoder input might have affected the performance” of the PPM, Arbitron’s Thom Mocarsky stated.
He said technicians have since checked the performance of every encoder at the 49 radio stations, 11 television stations and 26 cable networks in the trial.
“What we learned is that we need to refine our installation specifications and also to refine our procedures for verifying that the encoders have been properly installed. We are also improving the design of our in-station monitoring equipment to allow it to analyze more completely the quality of the encoded signal.”