Arbitron has yet to say anything publicly about the letter sent last week by four large radio groups demanding larger sample sizes to get PPM in-tabs up to targets (11/16/07 RBR #225), but RBR has received a copy of an email that Arbitron CEO Steve Morris sent to the four group heads. In it, Morris proposes having Arbitron President of Sales and Marketing Pierre Bouvard meet with them to hear just what they want in the new ratings service "and how you would rebalance the trade-offs."
Morris’s email stated that "trade-offs vs. costs" were among the things discussed extensively during the time that PPM was being developed. "It seems clear from your letter, however, that we need to go back and revisit previous assumptions about how the service is to be built, and to make sure that we are doing this in a way that serves your needs," Morris told the four broadcasters – Lew Dickey of Cumulus Media, John Hogan of Clear Channel Radio, Alfred Liggins of Radio One and Bob Neil of Cox Radio.
At least one of the broadcasters is not impressed by the response from Morris. "We don’t need to have a meeting. We need to see a comprehensive plan that describes how, and when Arbitron will begin to start hitting their sample targets. We need to know about the MRC process in Philly and give us some expectations for when they expect to be accredited. I’ve had many of these meetings with Arbitron people over the years, and it’s been a gigantic waste of time. Fix the sample. Give us what we’ve paid for. The time for meetings and spin is over. The time to get it fixed is now," Cox Radio’s Bob Neil told RBR last evening.
RBR/TVBR observation: Have to agree with this statement from Bob Neil, “Again, I stress….no one is fighting electronic measurement. That train is gone.” The time is right now to slow this train down before there is a massive accident which will not be pretty to watch. From the seat we are sitting in the legal department at Arbitron is working overtime. Recommend for all to read the email as this issue is not going away any time soon. Have a comment send with photo to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Lew, John, Alfred, and Bob,
I have received your urgent letter. You raise important points that are clearly fundamental to having a currency that commands the respect and support of broadcasters and advertisers.
Over the last few years, as PPM has been brought through its long testing process, many of these issues have been extensively discussed, and trade-offs vs. cost debated. It seems clear from your letter, however, that we need to go back and revisit previous assumptions about how the service is to be built, and to make sure that we are doing this in a way that serves your needs.
I have asked Pierre to call you and to set a time when he and I can come to your office and hear directly from you what it is that you require in a new service, and how you would rebalance the trade-offs.