PPM Gets MSM Ink
September 28, 2007 at 11:42 AM (PT)
ARBITON's fledgling PPM service has gotten what may be its first full-blown exposure in the mainstream media, as the ASSOCIATED PRESS reports on its early growing pains and offeres presumptive, if not altogether correct conclusions.
"Electronic ratings are delivering more accurate counts, but are also upending basic assumptions about the industry," the story noted. "Though the new technology shows more people are tuning in, it also found listening habits to be far different than expected. Morning drive isn't as important as it seemed. And some formats are faring better than others, contributing to several stations switching to higher-rated genres like rock.
'Hitting those targets will give us much more confidence in the ratings ... We're making progress, but this has got a long way to go before we all feel comfortable with it.
"In PHILADELPHIA and HOUSTON ... the results are causing confusion over how ads are bought and sold. Some radio companies are raising questions about the soundness of the new ratings following shortfalls in the amount of collected data.." The story then quoted EMMIS/NEW YORK Market Manager DAN HALYBURTON saying, "We've got to keep ARBITRON's feet to the fire to make sure this transition is as smooth as possible."
ARBITRON responded that it is currently ironing out the kinks in the system, which was also detailed in the story, which then reported that "Getting enough usable data from the sample pools has been a sticking point. For the past several months the usable sample sizes in both HOUSTON and PHILADELPHIA have fallen below Arbitron's targets, and the company is having particular difficulty getting young adults to comply with the requirements of wearing the pager all day ... What's more, the new ratings cost about 65% more than the old ones, giving broadcasters even more reason to insist that the targets on the sample sizes are met."
"'Hitting those targets will give us much more confidence in the ratings,' said COX's STEVE SINICROPI, who serves as the chairman of a broadcasters' advisory council to ARBITRON. 'I think we're making progress, but this has got a long way to go before we all feel comfortable with it.'"
The advertiser perspective was that the PPM so far has been a "mixed blessing," because assumptions such as the importance of morning-drive listening haven't panned out. The end-result, according to HOUSTON media buyer CHRIS CALDWELL: "Our radio budget hasn't changed, but the way we disperse that radio budget has."
Also noted: The initial findings that Urban and Hispanic formats are hurting, while Rock and Country formats are getting a major boost from the PPM data. What's more, the increases in cume and station switching, with the decreases in TSL, have hurt business, although broadcasters such as WBEB/PHILADELPHIA GM BLAISE HOWARD hope that both radio and ad agencies can adjust to the New World Order of PPM.
Read the entire story here.