Arb Reaches Agreement With Maryland A.G.
February 6, 2009 at 7:28 AM (PT)
ARBITRON has reached an agreement with the Office of the Attorney General of MARYLAND regarding the company’s PORTABLE PEOPLE METER radio ratings services in WASHINGTON D.C. and BALTIMORE.
ARBITRON has agreed to a number of actions in these two radio markets consistent with its ongoing continuous improvement programs for the PORTABLE PEOPLE METER ratings services. ARBITRON Pres./CEO MICHAEL SKARZYNSKI stated, "The company’s long-standing continuous improvement programs are a powerful framework for enhancing our PORTABLE PEOPLE METER radio ratings services. This agreement with the MARYLAND Attorney General further indicates that ARBITRON is proceeding along the appropriate course as we commercialize PPM in the top radio markets."
The settlement is significant because it is the first to require proactive measures by Arbitron to address major problems with PPM prior to its implementation in a market, in this case, Baltimore.
Arbitron commercialized the PPM radio ratings service in WASHINGTON, D.C. on DECEMBER 31st, 2008.
In Summary, Arbitron Has Agreed To
* Recruit panelists using a combination of telephone-based and addressed-based sampling methods. ARBITRON has committed to use the address-based sampling technique for at least 10% of its sampling efforts by or before OCTOBER 1st, 2009 and at least 15% of its recruitment efforts by the end of DECEMBER 2010;
* Increase cell phone-only sampling to at least 10% of all recruitment efforts by or before OCTOBER 1st, 2009 and at least 15% of all recruitment efforts by the end of DECEMBER 2010;
* Take all reasonable measures to ensure a minimum Sample Performance Indicator (SPI) of 15% and to obtain and maintain a minimum SPI of 17% by JUNE 2010 with a target SPI for the market of 20% or higher;
* Take all reasonable measures to ensure average in-tab rates of at least 75% for the overall persons age 6 and older population, and to ensure that categories and subcategories comprising 10% or more of the radio population for the market fall within 85% of the overall 75% target;
* Provide to WASHINGTON D.C. market subscribers monthly reports detailing the PPM installed and in-tab sample sizes by individual zip code;
* Take all reasonable measures to obtain accreditation for the PPM radio ratings service from the MEDIA RATING COUNCIL; and
* Include a disclaimer on written promotional material and websites indicating that PPM ratings are based on audience estimates and should not be relied on for precise accuracy or precise representativeness of the radio market.
Regarding The PPM Radio Ratings Service In Baltimore
ARBITRON is currently scheduled to commercialize the PPM radio ratings service in BALTIMORE with the release of the SEPTEMBER 2009 survey report on OCTOBER 9th, 2009.
The Company has agreed to use comparable methods and comply with comparable terms in connection with the commercialization of the PPM service in BALTIMORE that reflect the different demographic characteristics of that market and the timetable for commercializing the PPM methodology in BALTIMORE. ARBITRON and the MARYLAND Attorney General will agree to the specific comparable terms at a later date.
PPM Coalition Is Pleased
The PPM Coalition, comprised of THE ASSOCIATION OF HISPANIC ADVERTISING AGENCIES, BORDER MEDIA PARTNERS, ENTRAVISION COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION, ICBC BROADCAST HOLDINGS, INC., MINORITY MEDIA AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK OWNED BROADCASTERS, SBS RADIO, SPANISH RADIO ASSOCIATION and UNIVISION RADIO released this statement on the settlement:
"THE PPM COALITION is pleased that an agreement has been reached between MARYLAND Attorney General DOUGLAS GANSLER and ARBITRON regarding ARBITRON’s PERSONAL PEOPLE METER radio audience measurement service. The settlement agreement announced this morning requires ARBITRON to solve key flaws in PPM’s sampling methodology in the WASHINGTON, DC and BALTIMORE markets. The settlement is significant because it is the first to require proactive measures by ARBITRON to address major problems with PPM prior to its implementation in a market, in this case, BALTIMORE.
"With similar settlements covering the NEW YORK and PHILADELPHIA markets, the PPM COALITION called upon ARBITRON to acknowledge the need for a nationwide approach to address the damaging impact caused by PPM on minority radio broadcasters. Absent such an agreement by ARBITRON, the problems identified by the NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY and MARYLAND Attorneys General will continue to plague broadcasters and advertisers in every market in which ARBITRON has imposed or will impose its PPM system.
"The MARYLAND settlement mirrors many of the provisions of the NEW YORK and NEW JERSEY agreements and requires ARBITRON to cure methodological sampling deficiencies in order to improve the PPM sample panel in BALTIMORE and WASHINGTON, DC by: increasing the recruitment of individuals who only use cell phones (a disproportionate percentage of whom are younger and minorities); ensuring that a higher proportion of minorities are successfully enrolled as PPM panelists; and obtaining accreditation from the MEDIA RATING COUNCIL (MRC) for each market.
"This agreement further solidifies the previous concerns about the deficiencies in the PPM methodology and addresses many of the issues which NABOB, SRA and the other members of the PPM COALITION have raised with ARBITRON for the past two years."