Univision signs for Arbitron PPM service


Long-time holdout Univision has signed a contract for Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM) service in a dozen markets. The nation’s largest Spanish radio group had previously dropped Arbitron ratings service in nearly all markets because of its displeasure with the PPM methodology.

Arbitron had stated recently that Univision’s refusal to subscribe to its ratings data represented the largest portion of the $11.2 million in revenue missing in the first nine months of 2010 from clients who had dropped service after 2009. But at the same time Univision had admitted that the lack of ratings data was costing it ad sales. Univision Radio had reported revenues down 7.5% in Q3.

Earlier this month Univision Communications CEO Joe Uva told a Wells Fargo Securities Technology, Media & Telecom Conference that his company was still watching as Arbitron instituted improvements to PPM. “As you know, we reached an agreement earlier this year with part of the Coalition of Minority Broadcasters with Arbitron and Arbitron had committed to fixes in the methodology and sample and panel recruiting and maintenance. And they are at work dealing with that. But as we said, that’s going to take some time to complete. While the work is starting and being done, it’s not expected that that process is going to end prior to the spring of 2012. We, however, are taking steps to continuously look at our programming offerings and formats and we fully expect that some changes that we are making will result in our ability to increase our revenue take,” Uva said.

But rather than wait for full implementation, Univision has apparently decided to subscribe now and once again have ratings data to use in its largest markets. It has now signed multi-year PPM contracts for these 12 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Jose, Dallas, Miami, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Antonio and Austin. In all, there are 44 Univision Radio stations in those 12 markets.

“Reliable ratings data are vitally important for all stakeholders in the radio marketplace. Based on the steps taken by Arbitron to date to improve the PPM service, and on Arbitron’s commitment to continue its current efforts to improve the service, we concluded that we could begin subscribing to the PPM service again,” said a statement Monday (11/22) from Ceril Shagrin, Executive Vice President of Audience Measurement Innovation and Analytics, Univision Communications. “We remain committed to ensuring that the industry has access to the most reliable ratings data by working closely in partnership with Arbitron,” she added.

A Univision spokesperson told RBR-TVBR the company’s executives would have no comment on PPM beyond the official news release.

“Univision Radio’s commitment to the PPM radio ratings service is one more vote of confidence in the value and utility of Arbitron’s electronic ratings for radio. We are grateful for the support and, as part of our renewed partnership with Univision Radio, we will work together to promote the value of radio to agencies, advertisers and the communities it serves,” said Carol Hanley, Arbitron  Executive Vice President, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.

The news gave a boost to Arbitron on Wall Street. Its stock closed with a gain of 8.2% on Monday.

Univision Radio has been a subscriber to the Arbitron PPM ratings service in Houston and to the Arbitron diary service in Albuquerque, El Paso, Fresno, McAllen-Brownsville and Puerto Rico, Arbitron noted in its announcement.