Exclusive: PPM Problems Aside, Arbitron Phone Recruitment 'More Affordable'
November 27, 2007 at 5:11 PM (PT)
The morning's ARBITRON PPM-delay conference call didn't address the question of whether door-to-door panel recruitment, which was used in MRC-accredited HOUSTON, is better than phone recruitment, which is being used in the highly-criticized PHILADELPHIA and NEW YORK markets.
ARBITRON SVP/Press & Investor Relations THOM MOCARSKY, in an exclusive response to ALL ACCESS questioning, explained, "The HOUSTON 'door to door' methodology was designed to meet the needs of television (we were working with NIELSEN at the time) who pays significantly more for ratings than radio stations do and are willing to pay the price for that more costly methodology.
"After NIELSEN declined the option for a joint venture, we designed our current 'radio first' method, which is telephone-centric," he continued. "Since TV wasn't going to contribute to support PPM panels, we had to devise an alternative methodology that would be more affordable for radio."
And in a followup, ARBITRON's MOCARSKY said, "No alternative recruiting methodology is off the table."
ARBITRON CEO STEVE MORRIS, also disputed the belief that the door-to-door recruitment is an improvement over a phone bank recrtuitment -- especially when it comes to response rates. "The HOUSTON response rates are not much better than PHILLY and the cost is much higher," HE TOLD all access. "Recall that HOUSTON was designed when we we were planning to cover TV as well as radio -- and thus spread the cost.
As to whether the recruitment methodology could be instrumental in getting MRC accreditation in PHILADELPHIA and NEW YORK, MOCARSKY noted that ARBITRON "can't comment on the specifics of the MRC’s deliberations and their conversations with us."
Consultant RANDY KABRICH was quite confused by MOCARSKY's explanation of currently relying only on a telephone-centric recruiting system, telling ALL ACCESS: "After their announcement 24 hours ago, why in the world do they want to take any option off the table? Do they want to do whatever it takes to get this fixed, or is it just lip service again?"