Arbitron touts PPM demo progress


In his monthly PPM press conference call, Arbitron President of Sales & Marketing Pierre Bouvard proudly declared “all-time high” delivery overall and in the troublesome 18-24 demo. New efforts kick in next month to boost 25-34 delivery, just as 18-24 has improved. But 18-24 delivery is still lagging in the two smaller embedded metros within the New York metro. Arbitron insists that all that’s needed is more time.
In the non-embedded portion of the New York Metro, 18-34 in-tab is at a Designated Delivery Index of 73, or 73% of the DDI target. And Arbitron officials said that getting participation of over 70% of that difficult demo would be exceptional for diaries, so that was branded a success. But for Nassau-Suffolk, the 18-34 DDI is 56 and for Middlesex-Somerset-Union it is 62 – in both cases essentially unchanged from recent months, but Arbitron officials remain confident that their efforts to boost 18-24 participation will pay off there as well, and those efforts are being extended to the 25-34 demo next month across the PPM markets.
Bob Patchen, Sr. VP and Chief Research Officer, said those efforts are in four areas: 1) raised incentives to targeted demo households; 2) an increased rate of selecting households with the key demos; 3) “tweaking and refining” the PPM panel management systems; and 4) increased attention to different ways for participants to wear and decorate PPM meters.

Bouvard confirmed that Arbitron is looking at whether to lower the threshold for the company’s analysis software to be able to run reports on some demos. The current minimum is 30 in-tabs and RBR has heard repeatedly from the Nassau-Suffolk market that some key demos are frequently below that. Noting Arbitron’s claim that one PPM panelists equals three diarykeepers, Bouvard said the company is looking at different options and is working with the Radio Advisory Council (RAC) research subcommittee on possible changes.

The RAC has suggested that Arbitron could drop 6-11 year-olds to focus on the 12+ universe, but Bouvard indicated that the company is focused on maximizing 12+, rather than dropping the youngest PPM panelists, and will have scenarios to discuss with the RAC by the end of this quarter.

RBR observation: The monthly press call was followed by the monthly PPM client call, which is closed to us press types. We understand, though, that there was some discussion about why broadcasters are having to pay so much more for PPM, as compared to diaries, but no new ad spending is materializing because of PPM. Bouvard reportedly countered that it is not about new dollars, but rather about keeping existing ad spending from moving away from radio to the Internet and other competitors due to advertisers demanding accountability.