NYC Council Hears Both Sides Of PPM Argument
September 10, 2008 at 12:58 PM (PT)
The NEW YORK CITY Council met at 10a TODAY (9/10) to hear testimony regarding the rollout of ARBITRON's PPM service in the nation's largest radio market.
NABOB Exec. Dir./General Council JAMES WINSTON testified that, "I am here to talk about the greatest threat to the survival of minority-owned radio in the UNITED STATES."
He continued, "ARBITRON maintains a monopoly over the business of measuring the audiences of radio stations. The existence of ARBITRON's monopoly means that, if radio stations do not subscribe to the ARBITRON ratings service, those stations will have no ratings data to present to advertisers who purchase advertising time on radio stations. In short, radio stations live and die according to the audience ratings and market ranks reported by ARBITRON."
"It is for this reason that NABOB is asking that the FCC and other government entities investigate ARBITRON's PPM audience measurement system, said WINSTON. "ARBITRON has been denied accreditation by the MRC in both NEW YORK and PHILADELPHIA. The failure of ARBITRON to obtain MRC accreditation for PPM in PHILADELPHIA and NEW YORK is a situation that calls for investigation, because that failure suggests that there are other deficiencies in the methodology that are not yet apparent."
"If ARBITRON is allowed to move forward issuing flawed reports on African-American and Hispanic audiences, it will result in huge financial losses for radio stations serving those audiences and might even force some stations out of business."
The View Of Hispanic Radio
SBS/NEW YORK VP/Market Mgr. FRANK FLORES then added his voice, saying "I come before you to continue my efforts to prevent ARBITRON's launching of the PPM Survey in OCTOBER."
"You see, no matter what is presented to you by the good people of ARBITRON TODAY, the real truth is that the Spanish Radio stations who currently are having a tough time competing for the radio advertising dollar will be further challanged in this new world, FLORES continued. "So in a market that some say has more than 4 million Latinos who hail from 21 different countries and 21 distinct cultures and share the same language who can now listen to at least 5 Spanish language radio stations, will have a choice of 2 ... maybe 3."
"You see ... this is not just a radio industry problem where the company who's only job is to accurately measure radio listening, has undervalued the Hispanic listener, he continued. "No, we are talking about what that severe undercounting will mean to the stations affected and the community they so nobly serve."
Arbitron's Steve Morris Responds
ARBITRON Chairman/CEO STEVE MORRIS also testified. The company released the following statement summarizing its testimony before the NEW YORK CITY Council:
* The participants in the ARBITRON PORTABLE PEOPLE METER (PPMTM ) radio ratings services are as representative of the diversity of NEW YORK and other top markets as diary respondents are today;
* The fundamental techniques used to recruit PPM respondents in NEW YORK and other markets are the same as ARBITRON uses for the diary;
* The difference between PPM ratings and diary ratings is a function of the survey tool, not the sample. PPM collects actual exposure; the diary, recall-based "habitual" behavior;
* The paper and pencil diary allows loyal listeners, of any and all formats, to overstate their habitual listening;
* Broadcasters of all formats, including urban and Hispanic, who have embraced PPM, have improved their audiences and their standing in the marketplace;
* ARBITRON will continue to adhere to the MEDIA RATING COUNCIL Voluntary Code of Conduct and will continuously strive to improve the PPM radio ratings service;
* ARBITRON remains committed to working constructively with the Council and with clients in the radio industry to address specific diary-to-PPM transition issues.
* ARBITRON does not believe that the FCC has jurisdiction over the Company or its operations and assets and consequently lacks the authority to commence a Section 403 investigation.
* ARBITRON has great respect and appreciation for the work of the City Council and for the critical and unique role that Black and Hispanic-targeted radio provides as a voice for the diverse communities of NEW YORK CITY.