SBS settles PPM dispute with Arbitron


Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) and Arbitron jointly announced settlement of their long battle over Portable People Meter (PPM) radio ratings. SBS has resumed encoding for PPM in all of its markets where the ratings system is in use and has extended its PPM contract.

SBS had pulled the plug on its PPM encoders for the second time in late March after a court order requiring it to encode was dissolved and the parties were heading to arbitration with their contractual dispute over PPM. More recently, though, in late April Arbitron came to terms with the PPM Coalition, of which SBS is a member, over enhancements to the PPM recruitment methodology.

That settled the methodology dispute and now SBS and Arbitron have settled their legal dispute as well. The parties jointly filed with a New York State Court late Tuesday to dismiss the litigation.

Under the settlement agreement, SBS will resume encoding its broadcast signals for all of its markets that use the Arbitron’s PPM radio ratings service, and SBS has extended its agreement with Arbitron for the use of PPM ratings in those markets. The length of that contract extension was not disclosed.

“Both Arbitron and SBS are committed to working together to address SBS’s previously-voiced concerns about the impact of the PPM service on minority radio broadcasters,” said Frank Flores, SBS Chief Revenue Officer. “SBS is gratified that it has reached an amicable resolution with Arbitron,” he added.

“SBS is a valued client, and we look forward to growing our relationship, and moving forward together in a productive and meaningful way. We believe that the radio industry is best served when Arbitron and broadcasters work collaboratively,” said Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr. He had made resolution of the PPM dispute with minority broadcasters and certain key Members of Congress a top priority since taking the helm at Arbitron in January.

RBR-TVBR observation: Still to go – Univision Radio. The biggest US Spanish radio group of all is still not subscribing to PPM in Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, San Antonio and Las Vegas, although it is encoding for PPM in all markets where it has stations and is paying for the data in markets where PPM was made currency in 2007 or 2008. Meanwhile, Arbitron is still working to win Media Rating Council accreditation of PPM in more markets. As it stands, the count is still only three out of 33 (soon to be 43).