Arbitron Field Tests PPM For Unencoded Radio Stations
September 11, 2006 at 1:17 PM (PT)
ARBITRON reports it is field testing the addition of an audio matching capability to the PORTABLE PEOPLE METER which would allow the PPM to track audiences to radio stations that choose not to encode their signals.
The dual-function PPM can detect inaudible codes in the audio of stations that are equipped with the ARBITRON PPM encoder. In addition, a dual-function PPM can also collect audio signatures for any radio station, which are later matched to signatures collected by an in-market monitoring system.
ARBITRON has successfully downloaded updated versions of audio-matching software into the current generation PPMs that are in the hands of the 50-person test panelists who are participating in the dual-function field test. The software update of converting "encoding-only" portable meters to "dual-function" audience meters was delivered through household phone lines.
ARBITRON President, Sales & Marketing PIERRE BOUVARD explains, "We are testing an enhanced ARBITRON PPM designed to report radio audiences whether or not all stations in a market encode their signals. Once the new technology is fully developed, advertisers and broadcasters can rest assured that they will get a comprehensive picture of listening in the local market."
"Our goal is to ensure that our audio matching results are consistent with those we have achieved and validated using the encoding/decoding technology," said ARBITRON Chief Research Officer BOB PATCHEN. "By using PPM codes as the benchmark, we can now evaluate and refine procedures that will produce a reliable audio matching capability for the PPM system. This will provide additional means to assure measurement of listening to all major radio stations in a local market."
ARBITRON President, Operations & Research OWEN CHARLEBOIS said, "We hope this new capability will help the industry better appreciate how flexible and adaptable the PPM system is. Over the past ten years, we’ve kept the PPM system ahead of the curve in terms how it can handle any number of compression schemes, distribution platforms and location tracking technologies. At the same time we have been expanding the technical capabilities of the PPM system, we’ve also been improving the methodological foundation that is essential to the reliability of an electronic audience measurement service. This can only be accomplished through years of experience in the field working with a large number of real respondents."