Arbitron Responds To PPM Sampling Issues, Expects Improvements In June
June 2, 2009 at 11:12 AM (PT)
ARBITRON asserts that it is well aware of the sampling problems with minority listeners in certain markets that popped up in the APRIL PPM data, and have already made adjustments that to improve the lagging figures. In an excusive interview with ALL ACCESS, VP/Research BETH WEBB predicted that ARBITRON's efforts will produce improved minority sampling numbers in the JUNE data, scheduled for release on JULY 16th.
"We noticed in some markets that we were either starting to fall below our Black 18-34 benchmarks or were trending downward," she said. "Those markets are relatively new, where we haven't started a process of sample expiration, which is when we de-install households who have reached their maximum time in panel. Since all these panels were also over-installed at the total sample (Persons 6+) level, we weren't selecting much new sample in order to improve the Black 18-34 representation.
Our goal for all the markets is to meet our benchmarks. We're committed to doing that and we anticipate making good progress in the June PPM report
"Once we saw the downward trend, we put together a plan that includes selecting more sample in the needed demo group, accelerating sample expiration in these markets to allow us to continue selecting sample in needed groups and implementing enhanced communications and incentives in order to improve overall participation, particularly among young adults."
Responding To The Situation
"In late APRIL, we increased the selection of households with Black 18-34 year-olds in needed markets," WEBB continued. "It takes about four to eight weeks for newly selected sample to be fully recruited and installed, so it takes about 60 days to see substantial improvements. In late MAY, we also began accelerating sample expiration in selected markets so that we would be able to select more sample as needed on an ongoing basis. A couple of markets have started showing improvement in MAY and we expect to see further improvement across the targeted markets in the JUNE report period."
She pointed out that these solutions were initially crafted in the fine-tuning of PPM monitoring in preceding markets. "We have the ability to target recruitment efforts by race/ethnicity and presence of young adult due to the stratified sample selection enhancement we implemented in OCTOBER 2008," WEBB noted. "In NEW YORK and PHILADELPHIA, we have reached sample expiration; we had enough sample turning over so we could select the needed demo sample through stratification.
"The particular markets we're currently targeting were built prior to OCTOBER and have not yet started expiration so we haven't had benefit of the stratified selection enhancement. By accelerating expiration and selecting new household, it’s the opportunity to apply this technique to improve the representation in these markets.
Incorporating Other Procedures
"At the same time we're doing that, we have other enhancements in place to improve in tab rates, particularly among young adults," she said. "The higher the in-tab rates, the better the representation is. For example, as of APRIL, in-person coaching for Black and Hispanic 18-34 persons has been implemented across all top-10 markets in APRIL. We're using meters with longer battery life which improves the performance of young adults who are more likely to spend nights and weekends away from home. We're sending out more targeted accessories to use in wearing the meter. And because we already know that in-tab rates decline during the summer months, we set up these special programs, such as reminders, travel PPM rechargers and special summertime incentives.:
The bottom line: "Our goal for all the markets is to meet our benchmarks," WEBB stated. "We're committed to doing that and we anticipate doing that. We anticipate making good progress in the JUNE PPM report, which will be released JULY 16th."