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Arbitron to Press Ahead with PPM Roll Out

June 13 2008

Arbitron says it will resume the commercialization of its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings service in eight markets, despite concerns from a coalition of Spanish-language radio broadcasters that its use could have a 'harmful impact' on the Hispanic marketplace.

The roll out was halted last year in response to client complaints that PPM radio ratings sample sizes were too small. Chairman, President and CEO Steve Morris states that since this time, his firm had improved samples in the four key areas outlined last November.

As a result, eight markets - New York, Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Jose - will commercialize with the release of the September PPM survey report in October. On that date, the company's diary-based radio ratings will be withdrawn from those eight markets and radio transactions among Arbitron-subscribing stations and agencies will take place solely using PPM-based radio ratings.

'It's time to move forward with electronic measurement for radio,' said Morris. 'Radio broadcasters and advertisers are taking bold steps in an effort to enhance the accountability of the medium. The PPM is uniquely capable of delivering the granularity, precision and speed of reporting that can help radio make these and other accountability initiatives a success.'

Earlier in the year, the Media Rating Council (MRC) refused to accredit the PPM service in Philadelphia and New York. Since this time, Morris says that Arbitron has been working diligently with the MRC in order to achieve MRC accreditation for all its PPM markets.

Despite these assurances, the newly formed Spanish Radio Association (SRA) - which has been launched following the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies' decision to establish a PPM advisory council - has urged Arbitron not to move forward with the rollout of PPM until all ethnic broadcasters are satisfied that the 'principles of fair market representation' are being fulfilled.

At the beginning of this month, members of the SRA met with Arbitron to highlight the PPM issues that they believe need to be addressed before moving forward with the rollout.

'Hispanic buying power is growing substantially and was estimated to be in excess of $840bn dollars in the US in 2007,' comments Jeffery Liberman, President of member company Entravision's radio division. 'Based on this growth, it is extremely important that Arbitron ensures sound methodology and representation of Hispanics.'

Morris adds that in the past weeks, Arbitron has met with clients to review the progress it has made since November, and the conclusion from these meetings is that PPM ratings are valid and 'the time is right for electronic measurement'.

Web site: www.arbitron.com .

All articles 2006-22 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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