Kabrich renews attack on PPM sample


Consultant Randy Kabrich has updated his chart from over a year ago with many more months of Houston PPM data – which he claims proves that Arbitron’s PPM panels are not properly balanced. Arbitron, not surprisingly, disagrees.

In May of last year we published a chart from Kabrich which illustrated his theory that it may not have been programming changes at Radio One’s Urban stations in Houston which produced higher PPM ratings, but rather perhaps increased Black in-tab in the Arbitron PPM data.

Now that a year has passed, and then some, Kabrich said he was asked by the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), which has been pressing for an FCC probe of PPM, to update his chart.

“The conclusion we can draw from this chart is that the trend of the Urban share following the sample continues and has become even more pronounced as time goes on and is especially dramatic in the last few months. This tells us that one of the reasons that certain formats do not perform well in PPM (i.e., ranging from certain niche formats like Smooth Jazz to Hispanic formats) is heavily tied to the amount of sample available,” Kabrich said. 
“Because PPM sample is 1/3rd the size of the diary sample, it is all the more critical for Arbitron to have a balanced sample – correctly balanced by age, gender, ethnicity, geography and socio-economic factors.  There is simply no “wiggle room” in a sample this small!  Unfortunately, the PPM sample is not yet properly balanced … it is significantly under the population percentage in cell phone only households and it is severely under the population percentage in ethnic demos, especially young ethnic demos.  It also under represents affluent educated households and, in particular, it under represents women in general,” Kabrich added.

An Arbitron spokesperson said the company stands its previous contention that Kabrich is wrong in his conclusions. We are expecting to receive a more detailed rebuttal.

RBR/TVBR observation: No doubt all broadcasters and ad buyers would love to have much larger PPM panels. Unfortunately, that costs money – and PPM is already an expensive proposition.

[Editor’s note: Kabrich revised his chart after Arbitron pointed out that the in-tab numbers for some recent months were incorrect. The revised chart is below. Kabrich insists that the changes do not alter his basic thesis.]