Armistice between Arbitron, PPMC is now official


Sharp declines in measured audience and ratings had many minority broadcasters infuriated with Arbitron’s Portable People Meter technology, to the point that many formed the PPM Coalition and sought relief from the FCC. However, congressional intervention resulted in a negotiated peace in April 2010, and now the FCC is closing its book on the matter.

Members of PPMC included National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Spanish Radio Association, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, American Hispanic Advertising Association, Border Media Partners, Entravision Communications Corporation, ICBC Broadcast Holdings, Inc., Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc., and Univision Communications Inc.

PPMC kicked off its FCC action 9/2/08, in reaction to concerns about PPM. The FCC noted, “Specifically, PPMC and others that supported the request expressed concern that the PPM methodology was having a detrimental effect on the ratings measurements for urban- and Hispanic-formatted stations because the sample panels under-represented minorities and the PPM devices were not sufficiently distributed within minority groups.”

The FCC began seeking comment on the matter two days later, and opened an investigation into the matter 5/18/09, looking into whether Arbitron’s data was accurate and reliable enough for the Commission’s use, as well as for that of the PPMC.

PPMC eventually cited hearings held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which led to interaction with Arbitron and the Media Rating Council, and resulted ultimately in a 4/21/10 agreement with Arbitron that addressed PPMC’s concerns. So the PPMC request for emergency released is withdrawn and the matter is officially closed.