PPM Update: All Systems Still Go, Tweaks Still Needed
January 30, 2009 at 1:52 PM (PT)
The once-delayed ARBITRON PPM monthly conference call went off without a hitch today, and the news was pretty much as expected: The PPM is meeting or exceeding almost all of its benchmarks, the lone exceptions being certain demos in a few markets that were negatively impacted by either HURRICANE KATRINA or from typical holiday listening behavior.
The presentation -- the details of which can be seen by clicking here -- revealed uniformly good results in sampling in all 14 PPM currency markets, from 6+ and target demos to Black and Hispanic breakouts. In-tab results, however, showed isolated instances where the PPM missed established benchmarks, such as HOUSTON 6+, 18-34 women and 18-34 black. It was also close, but no cigar for 6+ SAN JOSE, ATLANTA and DALLAS. WASHINGTON, D.C. seemed to be the most problematic, with improvements needed in 6+, and 18-34 women, Black and Hispanic. So far, none of the data up to this point have warranted refunds from ARBITRON.
Some interesting insight into the PPM process were revealed during the Q&A after the presentation. Among the revelations:
* ARBITRON currently uses government-supplied data to determine cell phone-only weighting, which can range from 1.5-2.5, depending on the market. When ARBITRON increases its CPO representation above the current 7.5% to 10% and more over time, the weighting will not be as pronounced.
* The current "70 is to 100" mentality in comparing PPM measurement to diary measurement is still workable, although ARBITRON Pres./Sales and Marketing PIERRE BOUVARD noted that "you can see differences in the individual markets." Special grids have been created by ARBITRON to illustrate that at arbitron.com.
* What BOUVARD has also seen is that "the later in the day you go, the closer the overall ratings are between the diary and the PPM. In some cases at night, the PPM ratings are higher in aggregate than the diary."
* Men still seem to have a higher PPM conversion rate than women, but that can vary widely by market.
* One issue that ARBITRON will look into is the impact of the rise in unemployment on PPM. BOUVARD noted that PPM data shows that usage of radio by full or part-time employees can double or triple that of those who don't work outside the home. That may hold water in theory, but more research is needed to ascertain the true nature of a potential unemployment impact.
* Although there are Asian listener breakouts in the diary, there are none in the PPM, and there are no plans on launching that.
* By the end of 2009, PPM is still on course to be currency in 33 markets.