On yesterday’s Cox Radio Q3 conference call, CEO Bob Neil spoke about strong categories for the quarter and commented as well on the ongoing issue of PPM-one that he has been quite outspoken about over the last year or so.
While noting in our story in Radio News that his Houston stations are doing well with PPM so far, "…we’re not pleased at the continuing sample problems in Houston, although they’re gradually improving there-but not fast enough. And you know from Beasley’s call yesterday, Philly is not making much progress."
He also noted that they are not happy with a methodology that was virtually guaranteed by Arbitron to increase market revenues is causing them to decline: "September was the first month where virtually all of the business was placed off of PPM currency and the market was down a disappointing 5% compared to the market being up 1% through the first six months of the year."
He further cautioned that if the scenarios of Houston and Philly are repeated in the largest radio markets getting ready to roll PPM out-NYC, LA and Chicago and Long Island-both in sampling and revenue, it’s not going to be pleasant."
He said that Arbitron cannot continue to defend sampling that results in demos’ sampling targets at 50-60% of their target…"they can’t continue to defend that that is accurate information. If that’s so, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a sample target."
Neil mentioned that the strongest ad categories for CXR in the quarter were Financial Services, up 19%; Telecommunications, up 9%; Home Improvement, up 18% and Grocery and Convenience Stores, up 45%. Softer Categories included Real Estate, down 22%; Hospitality, down 30%; Appliances and Electronics Retailers, down 37%; Automotive (still their largest category), down 12%.