Another problem for Arbitron in Houston? Looks like its turnover, as the Houston PPM in-tab is falling, falling, falling. The Houston September week 2 sample dropped significantly and the weekly in-tab dropped to a record low, losing 70 in-tab. Conversely, Philadelphia is up slightly and continues to be traveling in the right direction.
Arbitron SVP Thom Mocarsky tells RBR: "The Houston panel is over two years old. As such we have panelists that are timing out of the panel, having hit their two year anniversary. We retire exiting panelists at the beginning of each month. As this survey was the first month of September we deinstalled 25 homes (representing about 50 people.) Folks that make it all the way through two years are usually our best compliers so we took a step backwards in in tab going from a 6+ DDI of 90 to 85 this week. In Philly the panel is much newer and we do not yet have folks at their two year time out. We deinstall folks who have hit their two year anniversary only once a month so expect to continue back making progress next week."
Said Cox Radio CEO Bob Neil: "Once again, a quick mention in a conference call about Holidays doesn’t cover a big drop in sample. The majority of the drop appears to be caused by people dropping out of the panel after two years. Where is the memo to clients before this kind of thing happens? Given the recent experiences, one is left to ponder whether they know and ‘forgot’ to tell us, and didn’t know until people pointed out the problem.
They have a deeper hole now in Houston to dig out of. The promise ‘fixed by October’ deadline is looming, and while they can’t get the samples right in Houston and Philadelphia, we have the looming launch in the richest radio revenue markets in America. We have to keep them focused on getting the sample right, or bad research will end up costing the industry millions of dollars and advertiser uncertainty when we can least afford it."