Kathy Crawford, MindShare President/Local Broadcast, responded to RBR over yesterday’s concerns from Cox Radio CEO Bob Neil over Arbitron’s PPM ratings system at his Q3 conference call (11/7/07 RBR #218).
Crawford tells us her concern with Neil’s comments are that some of the very questions that he raises, such as "confusion out in the marketplace," are the same as they have always been in the diary markets. "Much of what he said about using varied months as the criteria exists in the diary markets, right alongside the PPM markets. Each agency has the right to approach their numbers in their own way. So why is that any different?"
She adds that in the case of the sample size, is it really all that different in the diary markets from the PPM markets? "And I’m not defending Arbitron here, I’m just stating facts."
What about Neil’s concerns about PPM being reason behind the big downturn in Philly, as cited in Beasley’s conference call as well? "Well you [RBR] made the statement ‘not completely, that’s for sure-PPM is supposed to get more confidence and ad dollars from the agencies.’ First of all, the money that was lost in that market was surely not about the PPM. It was probably about shifting dollars from old media to new media. I would encourage Bob to take a reading-client by client-and find out where the money went, instead of just blaming it all on the PPM. This is not about the PPM. Yes, he’s right-we do need to get a handle on the sample size, but this is an ongoing battle. We might not like the speed by which Arbitron does this. Certainly, the way to get all of this done is to ‘encourage’ Arbitron to speed up the pace by which they improve the sample size. I want nothing more than that, but it’s all about money. For Arbitron to speed this up, it’s going to be about money. So for folks like Bob Neil to be rushing out and bashing Arbitron, it’s not going to solve the problem."
RBR/TVBR observation: The PPM is not necessarily going to bring dollars to the marketplace in the short-term. But the PPM, by its electronic existence, will ultimately bring confidence to the buying/planning community and clients. Over time, that confidence may and should bring more dollars as well.