Arbitron touts PPM progress

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Just as company officials did last week when they announced that the Portable People Meter rollout would resume in September, Arbitron officials repeatedly noted in yesterday’s monthly conference call on PPM how metrics had improved since the rollout was put on hold last October. Of particular interest to most broadcasters, Arbitron Sr. VP of Marketing Bill Rose noted that the 18-24 demo was back up in Philadelphia in the new May report, having dipped as Arbitron initiated an effort to boost 25-34, which is also up. The overall result is a 97 DDI for the 18-34 demo, where most radio ad business is transacted. New York isn’t quite to that point, but he claimed “good solid progress.”


Meanwhile, Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino, Chicago, San Francisco and San Jose are on the PPM launching pad and clients from Washington, DC, Atlanta, Boston and Dallas were especially invited to be on yesterday’s call, since PPM panel installations are underway in those markets.

Here’s a look at total sample sizes in the PPM markets when the rollout was put on hold last October and in the May data released yesterday. 100 is the target for each.

Persons 6+

Persons 18-54

Oct 2007

May 2008

Oct 2007

May 2008

Houston

103

103

104

104

Philadelphia

105

109

96

108

New York (non-embedded)

96

109

86

102

Nassau-Suffolk

104

108

96

106

Middlesex-Somerset-Union

101

108

92

102

Los Angeles

110

104

Riverside

118

115

Chicago

122

113

San Francisco

100

87

San Jose

94

88

Source: Arbitron

More importantly to many broadcasters, Arbitron says it has dramatically improved its sample for the 18-34 demo, Blacks 18-34 and Hispanics 18-34.

Persons 18-34

Black 18-34

Hispanic 18-34

Oct 2007

May 2008

Oct 2007

May 2008

Oct 2007

May 2008

Houston

98

98

91

103

77

108

Philadelphia

62

97

67

105

48

100

New York (non-embedded)

65

91

58

81

80

121

Nassau-Suffolk

57

81

64

88

47

51

Middlesex-Somerset-Union

59

87

73

91

51

77

Los Angeles

92

83

97

Riverside

104

XX

XX

Chicago

95

92

117

San Francisco

76

63

106

San Jose

69

**

101

Source: Arbitron

As has become traditional with the monthly calls, reporters were waiting anxiously for consultant Randy Kabrich to put in an appearance. But his question this time dealt with why PPM encoding is working for one Internet stream, while not for another stream with the same bit-rate and seemingly all other factors the same. Arbitron is just weeks away from starting to include Internet streams and HD channels in PPM data.

But after the call Kabrich got in his zinger by sending reporters a PPM data run from the new May release for Women 18-24 in the Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island) market. Lots and lots of stations were listed, but none had data, because not a single one met Arbitron’s minimum reporting standards.