Arbitron brags on diary sample improvement


As the battle heats up for the radio ratings business, both contenders are rolling out data to show that their diary sample is best. Arbitron says it met or exceeded several key quality metrics for its Spring 2009 Diary Local Market Report, including improvements in cell-phone-only (CPO) sampling. Just a few days ago it was Nielsen touting its CPO results.

The enhancements that Arbitron implemented through the Spring 2009 Diary survey included improved cell-phone-only (CPO) sampling and increased Diary sample benchmarks for Persons 18-54 and 18-34.

“Arbitron remains strongly committed to the Diary markets we serve and to our program of continuous improvement for our Diary service. We are delivering solid increases above previous surveys and are raising the bar at the completion of each new improvement,” said CEO Michael Skarzynski.

Arbitron declared that it achieved its target of delivering a sample containing at least 10% CPO households across 151 local markets in the Spring 2009 survey. By the Fall 2009 survey, Arbitron plans to include CPO households in all 288 Diary markets in the continental US, Hawaii, and Alaska.

Starting with the Fall 2008 survey, Arbitron established an annual sample quality benchmark for Persons aged 18-54 in all Diary markets equal to a Designated Delivery Index (DDI) of 80. Beginning with the Spring 2009 survey, Arbitron established an annual sample quality benchmark for Persons aged 18-34 in all Diary markets equal to a DDI of 70. Beginning with the 13th month after implementation, the 18-34 DDI benchmark will be 80.

The overall sample for the Spring 2009 survey included an average DDI of 88 for Persons 18-54 across all markets, beating the 80 target by 8 points. The overall sample for the survey included an average DDI of 70 for Persons 18-34 across all markets, meeting the benchmark.

Out of the 151 markets with CPO sampling for the Spring 2009 survey, 100% of 37 four-book markets and nearly 90% of two-book markets exceeded the company’s 18-54 sample target benchmark of 80 DDI.

“Arbitron is committed to reinforcing the quality of our diary market samples and providing our customers with enhanced confidence in our ratings currency. We believe we are achieving those objectives through the impact of more timely and relevant data releases, and the delivery of sample quality target metrics in our Media Rating Council accredited diary service,” said Skarzynski.

Arbitron noted that all of its Portable People Meter (PPM) markets already included CPO households in the survey panels.

RBR/TVBR observation: Don’t you love competition? For years broadcasters complained that Arbitron was able to ignore their complaints because they had not alternative ratings supplier, at least not a major one, to switch too. Whether that was true or not, Arbitron has certainly been a lot more aggressive about shining a public spotlight on its improvement efforts since Nielsen jumped into the US radio ratings game.

PS: As we speak of Arbitron and Nielsen we also remind the radio medium that there is another audience measurement service in the field and competitive – Eastland Ratings