Beasley Broadcast Group President and COO Bruce Beasley still thinks PPM is the way the radio industry has to go, but he tore into Arbitron in his quarterly conference for failing to hit its PPM reporting targets for key demos in Philadelphia. In his view, PPM data for the entire range of Adults 18-34 will not be at "acceptable levels" until at least Q3 of 2008.
"As far as the PPM in Philadelphia, if you’re an older targeted demo radio station, say 35+, there the consistencies in the indices are really good, so it’s very dependable data. As you get down to the 18-24 and 25-34 demos, it becomes more undependable, for lack of a better word. I’ve been told by Arbitron that the 18-24 demo should be at acceptable levels by the end of January. And they’re not even starting to work on new initiatives and incentives for 25-34 until the end of February. So, we see that demo, 18-34, probably not being at acceptable levels until sometime third quarter of next year," Beasley told analysts in yesterday’s call. "I think PPM is a great measurement source. I think it’s the right thing for us to do. But Arbitron has its work cut out in the young-end demos," he added.
Arbitron declined to comment specifically on Beasley’s criticism, but a spokesman said there will be an update on demo performance in the company’s monthly PPM conference call this Friday. Arbitron has previously insisted that its PPM data for younger demos is accurate, despite falling below in-tab targets.
RBR/TVBR observation: Whether you love or hate PPM seems to depend on your format and target demo. Immediately after hearing Bruce Beasley’s PPM tale of woe in Philadelphia, we went onto the Saga Communications conference call, where Ed Christian was lamenting how long Norfolk, VA, where his company has Rock stations will have to wait for PPM. Experience thus far in Houston and Philly has shown substantially higher ratings for Rock stations under PPM measurement.