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Arbitron Reveals New PPM Sample Targets

July 22 2008

US media ratings giant Arbitron has unveiled its new Portable People Meter (PPM) sample program, which aims to increase sample sizes prior to roll out of its delayed service this September.

Steve MorrisThe announcement was made at the July Radio Advisory Council meeting, in preparation for Arbitron's plans to resume the roll out of its PPM ratings service, after it was halted following client complaints that sample sizes were too small.

Key components of the new program include:

  • Increasing the persons 12+ sample target by 10%
  • Increasing the threshold for the persons 18-54 sample size guarantee from 80% to 90%
  • Raising the PPM sample benchmarks for total persons 6+ from 90% to 100%
  • Increasing the sample benchmarks for 18-34 from 70% to 75% at month six, prior to the 80% benchmark for year two and beyond.
The company is also moving towards recruiting more cellphone-only households, saying such households are more difficult and expensive to recruit, but adding that as the percentage of cellphone-only households grows, it is increasingly important to recruit them to be sure panels are representative.

In addition, the firm noted the continued concern regarding whether ethnic samples effectively represent their constituencies. However, Chairman, President and CEO Steve Morris said that his firm feels strongly that its data is 'valid and reliable' and does effectively represent all segments of the population.

Morris said that broadcasters had responded positively to the planned sample increases, but added: 'Sample size is going to be an issue for us forever in this service, just because of the fragmentation of delivery. And the broadcasters know, as we do, that that is going to put continuing demand for more and more sample.'

The firm has also reported Q2 revenues of $78.7m, an increase of 3.7% from the second quarter of 2007. However, costs and expenses for the second quarter increased 9.0% from $75.6m in 2007 to $82.4m in 2008, due primarily to planned expenditures for the commercialization of the PPM service.

Morris concluded: 'In June, we made the decision to restart the commercialization of our PPM services. Now that preliminary PPM ratings are being released in a number of new markets, we are redoubling our ongoing effort to help the radio industry in its transition from diary to electronic ratings.'

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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