PPM Coalition says data proves problems


The PPM Coalition says data from the first month of PPM currency in eight new markets demonstrates that Arbitron’s system is flawed. Rather than keeping pace with other broadcasters, where ratings generally fell from diary measurement, the Coalition says Urban and Spanish stations fell more. It claims that is because the survey sample is not representative.

The PPM Coalition issued its analysis yesterday:
“As expected given the sample deficiencies, Arbitron’s PPM results for September 2008 reflect inaccurate listenership data. Arbitron suggests via examples that Spanish-language and Urban stations do well in the new PPM markets and chose to overlook the overall impact on these stations. Looking at total week average quarter hour ratings shows an overall decline for persons 12+ in NY of 34%: Spanish-language radio declined over 50%, Urban radio declined almost 40%, while top 5 non ethnic FM stations were down 10%.

In Chicago we saw an overall decline of over 30% but if you take a closer look, Spanish-language radio is down over 40% and urban down almost 60%, while top 5 non ethnic stations had a difference of less than 1%.

Arbitron, which is an unregulated monopoly, has a long standing history of highlighting their most favorable results because the company has a tendency of giving data in “shares” or “cume” rather than in ratings. Neither figure reflects average quarter hour ratings (the average number of people a station reaches), which is what advertisers and stations depend on. Inaccurate ratings data produced by PPM will disenfranchise minority communities and have a devastating impact on small businesses. Inaccurate data will severely harm media diversity, and ultimately will limit the variety of voices and viewpoints on our radio airwaves. This is why the Attorney General’s Office has cautioned advertisers and broadcasters against using these prematurely released ratings.

The PPM Coalition supports the technology but has grave concerns with the flawed sample that does not accurately represent the diversity of our communities. We will continue to fully cooperate with regulators, Congress, the civil rights community, state and municipal authorities and other stakeholders, all of whom have questioned the accuracy of PPM measurement, to bring some accountability to Arbitron.”

The PPM Coalition is comprised of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, the Spanish Radio Association, the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, and five radio group owners: Border Media, Entravision, Univision, SBS and Inner City.