Arbitron Shows Improved Numbers To Support Commercialization Restart
June 18, 2008 at 3:01 PM (PT)
ARBITRON used its monthly PPM conference call as ammunition for why it decided to re-start commercialization before MRC accreditation. The initiative it undertook last OCTOBER has improved both its overall and in-tab numbers to the point that it is meeting or exceeding 65 of the 67 (97%) of the in-tab rate benchmarks for key demos in the 10 markets.
While certain benchmarks have yet been met, they are becoming few and far between, and ARBITRON is nearing the goals. NASSAU-SUFFOLK Hispanics remain an issue, SAN FRANCISCO and SAN JOSE have yet to meet the 60% in-tab benchmark for Black women and 'Other 18-34s' (they're within two percentage points), while 18-34 blacks are just barely under-represented in L.A. and S.F. It should also be noted that except for NASSAU-SUFFOLK, the other examples are all in markets that have yet to go live. In fact, they're still building the panels in the BAY AREA markets.
ARBITRON could even show data that illustrated that they have fixed the 18-24 drop-off that occurred when it worked on 18-34 issues. "It’s very difficult to argue that we have an '18-34 problem' in PPM when we're meeting or exceeding 52 of 57 (91%) 18-34 age cell DDI benchmarks across 10 markets, and we're meeting or exceeding 65 of 67 (97%) of the in-tab rate benchmarks across 10 markets with solid performance among blacks and Hispanics," ARBITRON's JESSICA BENBOW noted.
Unlike past Q&A sessions, the questions from among the 230 on the call who called had to ask about things like web streams and benchmarks for markets that basically won't go live until the end of 2008. Of course, that doesn't mean that ARBITRON is completely out of the woods. Executives on the conference call noted that SUMMER numbers are normally down, putting its current benchmark performance in jeopardy.
"Do not be surprised if some of these sample metrics decline as we report data for the upcoming SUMMER months,' BENBOW admitted. "We expect that to happen given the changes in lifestyles that occur in the SUMMER, particularly for a metric such as in-tab rate. We have built the panels with the goal of delivering solid sample sizes and good representation for key demographics during the SUMMER months."
Suffice it to say, many in radio will be watching their efforts -- and more importantly, their results -- quite carefully.