PPM restart a “go”


“It’s time to move forward with electronic measurement for radio,” said Arbitron CEO Steve Morris, making official what most people in radio had been expecting – Arbitron will resume its Portable People Meter (PPM) rollout this fall. Eight markets – New York, Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Jose–will go currency with the release of the September PPM survey report on October 8th.

Morris insists that Arbitron has made great improvements in PPM since the rollout was abruptly halted last November (11/27/07 RBR #230). The move comes even as some groups have been demanding a further delay until PPM wins Media Rating Council accreditation in at least one market using its current recruiting methodology.

“We have improved our PPM samples in the four key areas we outlined last November. We have enhanced our ability to deliver PPM sample targets. We’ve improved the composition of our PPM panels, especially among the 18-34 demographic. We’ve raised the day-to-day cooperation rate of our PPM respondents. We’ve also put in place a number of programs designed to have a positive impact on response rates. Our commitment to continuous improvement means that we will keep working on these metrics as we go forward,” Morris said in explaining the decision to resume the rollout.

Voices have been raised recently about the lack of MRC accreditation, with Cox Radio, Inner City and Saga buying ads opposing any rollout resumption without accreditation. But Arbitron also has supporters for the rollout decision. (See related story.)

Here is the restart schedule:

Arbitron will deliver “pre-currency” PPM survey reports for Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino and Chicago with a special release of the June PPM survey report in mid-July, and with the regular release of the July PPM survey report on August 13 and the August PPM survey report on September 10.

Arbitron will deliver “pre-currency” PPM survey reports for San Francisco and San Jose with the release of the July PPM survey report on August 13 and the August PPM survey report on September 10.

Pre-currency reports are not to be used in buy–sell transactions. Arbitron has released PPM pre-currency reports for New York, Nassau-Suffolk and Middlesex-Somerset-Union since October 2007. PPM has been currency in Philadelphia since March 2007 and Houston-Galveston since July 2007. Houston-Galveston is the only market with MRC accreditation and uses a combined telephone and door-to-door panel recruitment system, while Philadelphia uses only telephone recruiting, which is what Arbitron plans for all other markets.

RBR/TVBR observation: If your market is in line for PPM and you haven’t really kept up on developments because the rollout was on hold, got to the Media Center at RBR.com to hear the panel discussion of PPM issues.