In Arbitron’s monthly calls with reporters and clients Friday for a PPM update, the company said lots of things are being done and considered to improve PPM sample performance. One idea is to shorten the length of panel participation from the current two years to one to see if that makes it easier to recruit people to carry the devices, especially people in the critical young and ethnic demos. And the devices themselves are being examined. There are already designer “skins” to make the PPM a fashion accessory and Arbitron is studying whether some people would carry PPM more if the technology was embedded in a cell phone, audio player or other device. Much of that is under examination for the future, but Arbitron is also working with various incentive mixes to try to improve its delivery of PPM data across all demos. The major shortcomings in November were, again, in the 18-34 demos for both New York and Philadelphia.
But while there are lots of initiatives underway, Arbitron President of Sales and Marketing Pierre Bouvard insists that while they may improve confidence in PPM as ratings currency, “they’re not gonna change the ratings – in other words, the rankers, the shares that you see in Philly, New York and Houston are gonna stay the same – the numbers are the numbers.”