Arbitron upgrades convinced Dickey to re-up Cumulus


CumulusThe news of Cumulus being critical of Arbitron in recent years and selling without Arbitron ratings in numerous markets well-known, along with the RFP it put out for a new ratings provider. But those differences have been worked out, as Arbitron and Cumulus signed a multi-year agreement for diary and PPM ratings services covering all 450 Cumulus stations in the 100 Cumulus markets currently surveyed by Arbitron.

The agreement provides Cumulus stations in 44 diary markets access to Arbitron ratings for the first time in more than three years. It also renews ratings agreements in 17 PPM markets and 39 diary markets.

The deal also provides Cumulus with access to Arbitron software applications, Scarborough consumer profile services, and national and network radio ratings for Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus will also collaborate with Arbitron on cross-platform services that would quantify the total impact of the Cumulus radio brand.

RBR-TVBR asked Lew Dickey, Cumulus CEO, what made the group-wide deal happen after so long: “We chose not to renew in 2010 because we didn’t see an acceptable return on investment. Aribitron’s pipeline of new tools and efforts to evolve their service has caused us to rethink our position and integrate it platform-wide.”

Back on 12/5, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Keith Mitchell, Cumulus Cincinnati operations director and WGRR-FM PD said that their  “corporate office is currently negotiating a new contract with Arbitron and we hope to have that finalized soon,” so many knew this overall deal was coming.

RBR-TVBR observation: Agencies and advertisers are less interested in buying off of rankers that have little or no stations listed in any market. Cumulus’ absence in many of these markets meant other local owners may have not participated, either. At this point, radio needs to give media agencies all of the tools they can use to consider and buy radio. This new deal helps radio, no doubt.