“The PPM sample is wrong” maintains the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) in a letter sent to Arbitron which also charges that the ratings company has been “indifferent” to AHAA’s attempts to communicate its concerns about the impact of the Portable People Meter (PPM) on Spanish-language radio.
AHAA complains that PPM sample sizes are too small and don’t adequately represent the Hispanic population. It points to major audience declines for Spanish-language radio in all markets where PPM has been deployed, except Dallas, where the overall audience number increased for Spanish radio. So, AHAA said it would like a written explanation of that discrepancy.
Arbitron had no immediate response when RBR/TVBR inquired about the AHAA letter. The company has previously and repeatedly defended the accuracy of its PPM measurement of minority audiences.
According to the letter from AHAA Chairman José Lopez-Varela, the Hispanic recruitment methods used for PPM skew toward English-dominant people. And AHAA insists that PPM needs to add some sort of weighting to “correct” for listener loyalty.
“Arbitron is not putting out quality data and we need to ensure quality measurement for our clients. We need better audience representation; larger sample sizes; higher standards for your goals; country of origin data; MRC accreditation for PPM and most importantly, we’d like Arbitron to listen to our concerns and work toward improvement of the sample,” the AHAA Chairman stated.
Read the entire letter:
November 20, 2008
Mr. Rich Tunkel
Vice President National Group Services/
Ms. Stacie de Armas
Director, Office of Multicultural Business Affairs
142 W. 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
Dear Rich and Stacie:
It is with great disappointment that I write to you again regarding the concerns of the Hispanic advertising community with PPM. We sent a letter on September 11th clarifying again our issues with the methodology and Hispanic sampling at your request yet we have heard nothing in response to our issues. AHAA has tried in good faith to work with Arbitron, Inc. and communicate our reservations clearly and concisely; however, you and other company representatives have been indifferent and refuse to acknowledge the severity of the consequences that PPM in its current state poses to the Spanish-language radio industry and the U.S. Latino communities.
As Hispanic-specialized agencies, we have a responsibility to our clients to maximize their budgets, and deliver sales and results. With PPM, we are unable to do our jobs effectively and our clients will suffer. When a research sample is inaccurate, the research is invalid. The PPM sample is wrong. Let me reiterate our concerns:
1. PPM sample sizes are inadequate and are unrepresentative of the Hispanic population.
3. PPM has a smaller sample size than the diary.
a. PPM reports contain no income data.
b. PPM reports contain no country–of-origin data.
c. PPM reflects language weighting only at the 6+ level, rather than in the adult demos where it is needed the most.
4. Young Hispanic listeners (12+) are not reasonably included in Arbitron PPM samples.
5. Hispanic Recruitment methods skew toward English-Dominant persons as Arbitron is not sampling for country of origin.
6. PPM data omits the key metrics necessary for an accurate assessment of minority radio listenership.
7. Arbitron has failed to correct PPM by adding a metric for listener loyalty, a factor reflected in diary data that represents the high credibility minorities attach to their preferred stations and the high loyalty minorities observe in selecting brands advertised on these stations.
8. PPM reports contain no zip code information, as was available in diary reports. The diary methodology allows us to look at listening behavior at the zip code level. This is particularly important for retail clients. PPM does not include this, something we have used for years now to select stations based on strengths in certain areas of metro areas.
9. The unreliability of the data appears to be due to behavior differences not just in listening levels but in carrying levels.
10. The DDI goals are too low. They set an overall standard of 75% of persons 6 plus providing usable data and 60% of persons 18-34. That is not acceptable for currency data. You say that you are over-performing on your benchmarks but your benchmarks are too low.
11. Arbitron has failed to receive the Media Ratings Council accreditation for PPM and it is unclear why Arbitron has not submitted all data sets for accreditation.
Allocating advertising dollars based on invalid information will negatively impact advertisers as they will be unable to reach audiences as expected. Arbitron is not putting out quality data and we need to ensure quality measurement for our clients. We need better audience representation; larger sample sizes; higher standards for your goals; country of origin data; MRC accreditation for PPM and most importantly, we’d like Arbitron to listen to our concerns and work toward improvement of the sample.
The latest PPM numbers continue to show major audience declines for Spanish-language radio in all markets. New York is experiencing one of the most dramatic declines in audience figures of up to 80 percent in the morning drive time. How is it that DJ Luis Jimenez, a celebrity in New York, suddenly has a severe drop in listeners? Morning radio is considered primetime in the industry and radio personalities have become well-known, respected and admired by listeners, yet your PPM numbers now indicate that this is a lie.
Dallas seems to be the only exception showing an overall audience decline of 17 percent. We would like to get a written explanation as to the differences in the execution in Dallas versus the rest of the country.
We know that the broadcasters and in fact even President-elect Obama agree with our position, yet we fail to understand why Arbitron is resistant to working with us and others to resolve these issues. Arbitron executives seem intent to stand by and watch an industry deteriorate. However, AHAA member agencies are not able to rest using invalid data and recognizing the implications that undercounting Hispanic listeners will have on advertisers.
We are committed to continue to seek resolution for the benefit of our clients and the communities we serve. Again, we hope to hear from you in an effort to amicably address these issues. Arbitron must act responsibly toward providing the most accurate data possible – it’s an investment you can’t afford not to make.
Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies