Arbitron Explains Address Based Sampling (ABS) Methodology For PPM
June 19, 2008 at 2:09 PM (PT)
When NIELSEN released a client notification that it was transitioning its TV diary service from Random Digit Dialing (RDD) to Address Based Sampling (ABS), it sparked a lot of questions from radio wondering if this would have a trickle-down effect to ARBITRON and PPM. It’s not so much PPM as diary.
ARBITRON VP/Research Policy & Communications ED COHEN spoke with ALL ACCESS about RDD and ABS, as it applies to PPM and diary markets. "We currently use RDD for land lines. Cell phone sampling is not in diary markets yet but we are working on it. It's a top priority for diary markets.
We think that RDD is best for land lines, but think ABS is best for reaching cell phone only persons.
"Currently with the exception of HOUSTON PPM, we use RDD for cell phone and land lines in PPM markets, and each frame is handled separately. The phone numbers are drawn randomly from these frames."
So, if radio is asking about MRC Accreditation, why isn't ABS being used everywhere? "PPM in HOUSTON uses an address frame, which was a joint project with NIELSEN and it was a first in applying this methodology for radio ratings. One thing to clarify here: MRC doesn't accredit techniques, they accredit syndicated services. For example, the diary service carries MRC accreditation. They also accredit software. MAXIMI$ER and MEDIAPRO have MRC accreditation."
ARBITRON SVP/Press & Investor Relations THOM MOCARSKY, who was on the call, added, "For example, County Coverage is MRC-accredited as a separate service even though it's a subset of the diaries. These are syndicated services."
COHEN went on to say, "We don't think we need to bring ABS to other markets as we are having success now in these demos where we had previously had sampling issues. In HOSUTON we are also knocking on doors, a technique that would not make sense in the diary service. In Nielsen's ABS, they are not knocking on doors for their diary service."
ABS For Cells Being Testing
And, there is progress to report for cell-only households. "ARBITRON is working on an ABS frame on cell phone only and is just wrapping up testing. For the people who have land line phones we think RDD is better. I can't talk about the test results yet as it's just coming out of the field, but we are encouraged by what we’ve seen so far.
"In our cell phone only test, where we had no phone number attached to the address, we mailed a short survey and offered cash incentives for participation. Respondents could complete this on-line or via phone, or mail. We simply wanted to find out if they had a cell phone or land line and to gain permission to call cell phone only homes at a later time to place diaries. This keeps us in compliance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 which says you can't use auto dialers to call known cell phone numbers. By filling out the survey, respondents gave us permission to call their cell phones under the TCPA.
COHEN wrapped it up, saying, "ABS can do some good things but has some issues as well. Not everyone has a common street address and it's a little different dealing with certain areas such as some gated communities, apartment complexes, trailer parks, and other group quarters. We think that RDD is best for land lines, but think ABS is best for reaching cell phone only persons."