PPM helping some, hurting others


Bank of America analyst Jonathan Jacoby says Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM) is producing higher ratings for some groups, while hurting others. You may be surprised, though, to learn that one of the winners from Jacoby’s analysis of Summer 2007 ratings trends is Cox Radio, whose CEO, Bob Neil, is the radio industry’s undisputed critic in chief as far as PPM is concerned. Jacoby says Cox Radio’s revenue weighted ratings (Adults 25-54) were up 0.5% year-over-year in the Summer book. That’s because of a jump of about 40% for the Cox cluster in Houston. "Rock and Oldies formats have shown to have the largest lift in this market, of which Cox Radio owns two of the four stations in these formats," Jacoby wrote in his analysis piece. If you exclude Houston, the only PPM "currency" market thus far for Cox, the company’s ratings were down 3.1%.

Clear Channel Radio also has two Rock stations in Houston and got a 32% ratings boost there. But if you exclude the two PPM markets, Houston and Philadelphia, Clear Channel was down 0.3%.

CBS was also a winner with PPM, although Jacoby calls that a "partial lift" from the Houston and Philadelphia markets, since the company also got a big boost from the return to Oldies of WCBS-FM in New York, which was still in diary measurement for the Summer book. CBS Radio’s ratings were up 2.1% overall, but only 1.2% excluding the PPM markets.

Radio One was up 2.1%, mainly due to a continuing ratings recovery in LA, but would have been up 3.7% excluding the PPM markets. Univision Radio gained 5.6% overall, but would have been up slightly more, 5.7%, excluding the PPM markets. "PPM seems to provide a ‘lift’ to station ratings of select formats (such as Rock & Oldies), and, as expected, is a detriment to station ratings of Urban & Hispanic formats. As such, Radio One and Emmis have the largest percentage of revenues at risk with the rollout of PPM," Jacoby told clients.