Arbitron: 'Houston We Have A Problem ... Again'
May 7, 2008 at 8:04 AM (PT)
Whoops, they did it again! ARBITRON is reliving the problems of releasing a report with missing data, and it's the HOUSTON PPM market again.
Back in AUGUST, 2007, ARBITRON reissued the weekly HOUSTON PPM data for JULY 26th-AUGUST 1st, 2007 because of a data processing error that caused the records from approximately 200 in-tab panelists to be excluded from the data set used by ARBITRON's software.
While this new problem was not a case involving a reissue of the market estimates, last night (5/6) ARBITRON sent a memo to HOUSTON PPM subscribers, regarding the incomplete weeklies for APRIL 2008, Week 2. ALL ACCESS obtained a copy of the memo from JAN BOURNSTEIN to market subscribers, which reads:
Although KKHH-FM received appropriate listening credit, and estimates for KKHH-FM were appropriately complied internally, these estimates were not reported in yesterday's release.
HOUSTON PPM Weeklies Subscribers:
In the APRIL Week 2 audience estimates that released yesterday (for APRIL 10-16), estimates were inadvertently omitted for KKHH-FM, which changed call letters from KHJZ-FM. Although KKHH-FM received appropriate listening credit, and estimates for KKHH-FM were appropriately complied internally, these estimates were not reported in yesterday's release. ARBITRON had inadvertently omitted information regarding the call letter change from internal files used to identify stations eligible for reporting. We will be taking additional steps to help ensure that reported call letter changes are reflected in all appropriate files, both internally and externally.
To facilitate the most timely distribution of the Week 2 estimates for KKHH-FM, ARBITRON is providing the attached files this afternoon to all HOUSTON-GALVESTON Weeklies subscribers.
Week 2 estimates for KKHH-FM will also be accessible to Weeklies subscribers via TAPMEDIA this coming MONDAY, once subscribers load Week 3 estimates. KKHH-FM will appear in the list of station options for Week 3, and estimates for Week 2 and all applicable report periods (both before and after the call letter change) will then be available.
We apologize for the inconvenience.
Additional Comment From Arbitron
ARBITRON spokesperson JESSICA BENBOW told ALL ACCESS, "We should have caught this omission during our quality assurance procedures and regret the inconvenience. We will be taking additional steps to help ensure that reported call letter changes are reflected in all appropriate files, both internally and externally.
"We are providing our HOUSTON clients with updated data today to correct the listing error. When Week 3 data are issued on MONDAY they will reflect the correct call letter listing for KKHH. The data for the HOUSTON market as a whole are now complete and correct. This call letter listing error affects only KKHH. Rankings and ratings for other stations in the market have not been impacted."
Quality Control Questions
Consultant RANDY KABRICH, was all over this situation, and commented, "Despite STEVE MORRIS giving his guarantee in writing on AUGUST 31st, 2007, that this type of incident would never happen again, here we are again.
"ARBITRON cannot get the sample sizes and proportions correct in any market other than HOUSTON, where they are using an entirely different recruiting method, and it appears they cannot even perform simple quality control on the weekly data handling just 2 markets.
"Has ARBITRON demonstrated that they have the proper controls and oversight in place to roll out 20,222 PPM Panelist in the first 11 PPM markets by the end of this year, especially as they cannot do it for two markets with less than 3,000 current respondents? Has ARBITRON proven they are ready over the last six months -- or do we as an industry, at the very least, need to wait until an independent source, the MRC, assures us that everything is working as it should? With posting on the horizon, it's time for the industry to look in the mirror and ask some very hard questions."