Sample, sample, sample


That’s how Arbitron Radio Advisory Council Chairman Chuck DuCoty, COO of NRG Media, sums up the focus of this week’s two-day RAC meeting in Orlando. He’s talking now just about sample performance for the Portable People Meter panels, but diary markets as well. In both cases, DuCoty said RAC members discussed sample redistribution with Arbitron representatives to focus on the 18-54 demo cells, including efforts that are already underway. For PPM, the RAC had previously called on Arbitron to come up with a proposal to redistribute meters carried by 6-11 year-olds to 12+ participants. Arbitron came up with its proposal. “Quite frankly, we didn’t think it was where we wanted them to be,” said DuCoty, and the RAC has asked Arbitron to go back to the drawing board. “Honestly we would like to see those 6-11 meters move over to a 12+ universe,” DuCoty said, but Arbitron has business reasons for wanting to generate data from younger kids and proposed only what DuCoty referred to as a “recalibration” that RAC members didn’t think did enough to boost the 12+ sample.

Arbitron has been painting a September restart of its PPM rollout as a given, but duCoty sounded more cautious in talking with reporters yesterday after the RAC meeting concluded. He said Arbitron has promised to give the RAC the rational for its “go or no-go” decision well in advance of PPM going pre-currency in more markets. However, the RAC is not insisting on Media Rating Council accreditation prior to PPM becoming ratings currency in more markets. DuCoty said this is a long process and MRC accreditation will not be an issue for PPM becoming currency in New York, but it is “mandatory for moving forward” over a longer term.

Most radio markets will still be measured by diaries, not PPM, for many, many years to come and the RAC is also pushing for ways to improve the 18-54 sample in diary markets. DuCoty noted that there is excess sample in 55+ and even 65+ that radio clients would like to see refocused on 18-54. The RAC has established a diary subcommittee that will meet with the Small Market Operators Caucus to focus on the concerns of broadcasters in diary markets.