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Arbitron targeting young males

Arbitron is trying some new initiatives to reach the most illusive of diarykeepers - - Males age 18-24. The company reported yesterday on how well it's doing in wooing those young men - - and what's ahead in its efforts.

In a conference call with clients and reporters, Dr. Ed Cohen, Arbitron's VP of Domestic Radio Research, reported on progress that's been made on increasing participation in 20 markets where an additional five buck "thank you" payment has gone out to households which agree to participate in a radio ratings survey which have household members who are young males, Hispanic or black. Because of the improvement that's been seen, ten more markets are being added this year.

But more is being done to address the issue of getting males 18-49 to participate in radio ratings surveys. Cohen noted that they tend to be more transient that most of the population, with significant numbers in college, the armed forces or jail. Thus, Arbitron is looking at new ways to get young males to fill out and return diaries, and it's studying cell phone recruiting and the use of online e-diaries, both of which are expected to help with the male 18-24 problem.

Based on government estimates, 4.9% of all Americans use cell phones only and have no land line in their home - - and Cohen says the percentage is certainly higher for young males. Arbitron has already conducted tests of cell phone recruiting and this year, for the first time, will actually send out diaries to people recruited by cell phones. But while those diaries will be tallied to check consent and return rates, they won't actually be included in local ratings. That's still in the future.

Arbitron is still testing the e-diary as well, which would let survey participants record their radio listening on the Internet, rather than filling out paper diaries and mailing them in.

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