Ten new markets fire up PPM ratings


A total of 43 markets now have Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings as 10 new markets officially began using the electronic ratings data as currency with Monday’s release of September data. Arbitron says sample stats for those markets and all others are hitting targets.

It was the biggest number of markets added at once since Arbitron began rolling out PPM in 2007. The new markets now using PPM data are Charlotte, NC; Orlando, FL; Columbus, OH; Milwaukee, WI; Austin, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Providence, RI; Norfolk, VA; Raleigh-Durham, NC; and Nashville, TN.

In Monday’s monthly PPM conference call for radio stations, ad buyers and reporters, Arbitron officials proudly noted that the Sample Performance Indicator (SPI) – the number of in-tab persons divided by the eligible persons in the sample – was 22.6% on average across the 43 markets in September. That’s a significant improvement from the 20.4% average across 25 markets a year earlier.

The SPI average for the 10 new markets is about 19%, so a little lower than the average for all markets. “We are currently doing some further analysis into that to better understand the drivers of that,” said Arbitron VP Beth Webb. The lowest SPI of all in September was Memphis at 13.3%. The highest was Tampa-St. Pete at 32.8%.

Arbitron has nearly completed its PPM rollout, since only 48 markets are currently scheduled to switch to PPM from Diary ratings. Greensboro/Winston-Salem, NC; Jacksonville, FL; West Palm Beach, FL; Memphis, TN; and Hartford, CT are due to begin receiving pre-currency data next month with the release of October data and switch to using PPM as currency with the release of December data in January. All of those markets already have their panels built out except for Memphis, which was at 94% as reported in Monday’s monthly report from Arbitron.

With 43 PPM markets up and running Arbitron still has Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for only three: Houston, TX; Riverside-San Bernardino, CA; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN.