Arbitron missing its Portable People Meter (PPM) sample targets in Philadelphia and Houston has been big news in RBR and other radio publications for weeks now – but it hit the Associated Press wires Friday morning and sent Arbitron’s stock price dropping. The stock fell as much as 1.43 shortly after the AP story came out, but recovered as the day went on, closing with a loss of 72 cents. The brief AP story Friday morning was the result of an SEC filing by Arbitron after the market closed Thursday. It included the PPM money-back guarantee letter that Arbitron CEO Steve Morris sent out to client radio stations (9-6-07 RBR #174).
RBR/TVBR observation: Issue #1, Arbitron needs a focused educational and workable marketing campaign targeted to and in language the every day broadcaster can understand. Issue #2, Communications with the trade press as it has been our experience during the past 24 years that the consumer press, i.e. AP and many others, pick up the negative as they do not understand our radio business. Many reporters with no radio experience start writing to hit a deadline and in more cases only get half the information in their reports. In other words looking at the glass half empty rather than viewing the same glass as half full. A big difference. At RBR we view the glass one half full. Note: During the 4th quarter RBR will examine PPM from the educational view. Details later.