PPM comes up short in minority demos


Critics of Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM) got plenty of new ammunition in the April PPM data metrics. The DDI for Black 18-34 in Detroit was 59, well below the 70 benchmark, let alone the “perfect” goal of 100. And Los Angeles wasn’t much better.

The Designated Delivery Index got worse for the Black 18-34 demo in Detroit, dropping to 59 in April from an also-underperforming 62 in March. That demo is crucial in the Detroit Metro, which is 22.2% black. The PPM sample over-indexed for Black 6+, with an April DDI of 103, but that means the sample was overloaded with black participants outside the prime 18-34 demo.

The Black 18-34 demo is less crucial for most stations in Los Angeles, where the metro is 7% black. Even so, the DDI of 64, unchanged from March, is a major problem for stations with Urban formats. The Black 6+ DDI for April was 94.

Arbitron did show improvement in the Black 18-34 DDI in Dallas, moving from 60 in March to 97 in April. The Dallas Metro is 14% black.

The DDI numbers are better for Hispanics, except in the embedded Nassau-Suffolk market, which has always been problematic. The Hispanic 6+ DDI for the market was 78 in April, with the Hispanic 18-34 demo at 57.

Broadcasters and agencies targeting Hispanic audiences have complained that country of origin is important, as well as language preference. Arbitron conducted a three market study of whether country of origin data could be collected without harming the PPM sample, but there’s no final decision yet on whether to include such a question in panelist recruiting.

Meanwhile, Arbitron tracks Hispanic DDIs based on language preference. In all PPM markets with large Hispanic populations, Spanish-dominant DDIs were greater than English-dominant, except for non-embedded New York, where it was at tie at 120.

RBR/TVBR asked to speak with an Arbitron PPM expert about the April data metrics. We were told that no one was available on Thursday, but they might be able to speak with us on Friday.

RBR/TVBR observation: How can anyone make a radio buy in Detroit off of those numbers? We certainly wouldn’t want to.