PPM: 'The First Year -- A Tale Of Two Cities'
May 27, 2008 at 7:54 AM (PT)
Borrowing from the CHARLES DICKENS novel of 1859 "A Tale Of Two Cities," consultant RANDY KABRICH could easily have borrowed from the opening of the book itself, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." as he has released a very detailed look at a full year's worth of data from ARBITRON PPM currency markets HOUSTON and PHILADELPHIA.
In this extensive study, he keys on the fact that ARBITRON has "promoted increased cume as a significant PPM metric." The study goes on to show dynamic differences in the MRC Accredited HOUSTON data (specifically for the monthly AQH), where "PPM participants are recruited using an address-based sample frame," and PHILADELPHIA, where "ARBITRON uses the unaccredited telephone-based method to recruit PPM respondents (referred to as the "Radio First" method).
Comparisons Of The Two Markets
Quoting KABRICH's research:
HOUSTON: Year-to-year Persons Using Radio in the PPM was actually up. Most of the major stations grew or were stable over the last year.
In the Top 10 stations, six had stable cume year-to-year, three were up and only one was down by a very insignificant degree (less than 10,000 people).
PHILADELPHIA: Markedly different from HOUSTON in methodology and results, PHILADELPHIA has suffered from samples with poor demo cell balance and DDI levels in the 18-34 demos that barely passed the minimum benchmarks ARBITRON themselves set. The MRC denied accreditation for the PHILADELPHIA PPM "Radio First" methodology earlier this year.
Among the Top 10 stations, nine out of 10 lost cume -- an average of 122,000 per station, including market-leading WBEB off 125,900. Only one station gained cume: WRFF.
Radio At A Crossroads
KABRICH's study suggests that radio is at a crossroads with PPM, urging radio to make ARBITRON's addressed-based recruiting the standard, thereby ensuring MRC Accreditation. He also addressed the sample issues, particularly in problem demos which could lead to more stable numbers and performance guarantees close to or exceeding 100.
Click here to read the two-page "The First Year - A Tale Of Two Cities - Executive Summary"
Click here to read the 34-page "The First Year - A Tale Of Two Cities - Full Report"
Arbitron PPM Conference Call Update
In a follow-up to last week's story, "Fireworks On The Monthly Arb Con Call" (NET NEWS 5/22), CBS RADIO President DAN MASON still hasn't gotten back to KABRICH, as he'd promised on the ARBITRON PPM Conference Call. That's according to a widely distributed "reminder" e-mail from KABRICH to MASON over this past weekend, which indicated that KABRICH's still looking for that promised callback.
It all centered around KABRICH's very public question as to why CBS RADIO, at MASON's direction, had blocked the ARBITRON ADVISORY COUNCIL from examining the market revenue data from HOUSTON and PHILADELPHIA when PPM becomes currency -- data that is reported to show significant drops in revenue in both markets.
On that call, KABRICH pointed out that reports out of HOUSTON show CBS' pacing down 25% in Q2 2008 compared to Q2 2007 -- the last Quarter of the diary. MASON denied knowledge of such action, but didn't mention the HOUSTON pacing numbers. KABRICH then followed up by stating that CBS/SEATTLE Market Manager LISA DECKER, who is Vice Chairwoman of the AAC (ARBITRON ADVISORY COUNCIL), had specifically said that MASON would not authorize CBS's revenues to be included in the study.
KABRICH informed ALL ACCESS that he has supplied MASON with corroborating e-mails.
CBS RADIO VP/Communications KAREN MATEO commented to ALL ACCESS, "As a company, CBS RADIO decided back in OCTOBER 2007 that they did not want to participate in this particular study. And we have not heard from anyone else on this in all of this time, since OCTOBER 2007."