PPM Rollout Reaction: Good, Bad And Skeptical
June 13, 2008 at 5:19 AM (PT)
Yesterday's announcement by ARBITRON that it would resume the rollout of PPM (NET NEWS 6/12) was expected by most, and met with positive reaction by EMMIS RADIO President RICK CUMMINGS:
"EMMIS supports the re-start in NEW YORK and the launch into top 10 in SEPTEMBER," he said. "We think a further delay would bring even greater issues to the industry. However, we believe ARBITRON needs to continue to show progress on making the sample more robust, especially 18-34, and to continue making progress on compliance issues, daily in-tab issues, and progress toward MRC accreditation within a reasonable period of time."
We think a further delay would bring even greater issues to the industry. However, we believe Arbitron needs to continue to show progress on making the sample more robust ...
Today, CBS RADIO Pres./CEO DAN MASON, a very noted supporter of PPM, told ALL ACCESS, "We are pleased with this announcement and remain confident that electronic measurement is the future. We are also confident that ARBITRON, as it did with diary methodology, will move toward MRC accreditation in a timely manner."
Strong Concerns Raised
On the other side of the coin, COX RADIO Pres./CEO BOB NEIL, while a proponent of electronic measurement, wasn't happy about ARBITRON's decision, telling ALL ACCESS, "It's the same crock we usually get from ARBITRON. They certainly didn't talk to us, and after talking with some other group heads, I know there were plenty of other folks who didn't tell them to continue the rollout. So, instead of telling the truth, that they are desperate for financial reasons to resume the launch, they resorted to an untruth. That's sad.
"When dictators hold 'elections,' ever notice how they use the same language? It's usually 'voters overwhelmingly approved.' SADDAM was usually 're-elected' with 98% of the vote. Same story here, except (ARBITRON Pres./CEO) STEVE MORRIS doesn't have as nice a beret. So, now he gets to write himself a big check with just one press release. I need a gig like that."
NEIL went on to predict the downside of the PPM rollout: "It's going to be a free-for-all. The stations that get killed by bad sampling will be forced to defend themselves by pointing out the problems, and that will further erode the confidence of buyers, who may now do the same thing they are doing because of bad data in PHILADELPHIA -- just skip radio.
"What about the Hispanic and Black communities that have been fighting for respect and advertising share? Years of work are flushed by the decision of one company ... and one man. Will they, and their audiences, just sit back while they're sent to the back of the bus? These stations are vital parts of their communities, and now they will not be able to afford the same resources because their revenues will fall along with their audiences.
"I hope I am wrong about all of this. Nothing will please me more than to be able to say I was wrong about it. The people who have allowed this to happen will either reap the rewards of higher revenues, or their investors and shareholders will hold them accountable. For all of our sakes, I hope it's the former."
SAGA RADIO President/CEO ED CHRISTIAN quoted TARA HUNT, author of "HorsePigCow," who said: "'Designing your product for monetization first, and people second will probably leave you with neither.' Or, as I believe, 'desperate people do desperate things'."