The Cumulus RFP is no surprise to Arbitron, since Cumulus has invited it to submit a proposal. “We welcome the initiative announced today by Cumulus Media Inc. to enhance the tools that radio broadcasters in markets 100+ need to compete for local ad dollars. Our mission has always been to serve broadcasters in all markets with audience measurement that is useful, reliable, effective, and credible,” said Pierre Bouvard, Arbitron President of Sales and Marketing. He noted the steps that Arbitron has been making to increase small market sample sizes, improve qualitative questions in the back of the diary and the development of enhanced training and education programs for broadcasters using diary ratings.
Bouvard’s statement fell noticeably short of saying that Arbitron intended to submit a proposal to Cumulus for a service that doesn’t use the current diaries. “Just as the industry’s RFP for electronic measurement helped propel the commercialization of the Portable People Meter, we hope the industry will harness the energy of the Cumulus RFP to help us deliver better audience measurement services for small market broadcasters,” he said.
RBR/TVBR observation: That electronic measurement RFP is, of course, a reference to the Clear Channel RFP which had support and involvement from a number of other major radio groups. The united front fell apart when then-CBS Radio CEO Joel Hollander broke ranks and signed a multi-market deal for Arbitron’s PPM. The RFP process produced only one contender, but not much has been heard lately from The Media Audit/Ipsos about development of its system, which was to have been based on Smart Phone cellular technology. Arbitron went ahead with its PPM roll-out, albeit with a few bumps along the way, and the groups all signed contracts. Bouvard sounds like he expects Arbitron to be the only MRC-accredited ratings company left standing when the Cumulus RFP runs its course as well.