Arbitron Calls in Legal Eagles Over PPM

08 October 2008

NEW YORK: "Cometh the hour, cometh the lawyer." Faced with a challenge to the roll-out of its Portable People Meter system by New York's attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, Arbitron has dutifully called-to-arms its own legal team, and a weather-beaten copy of the US Constitution.

As previously reported, Cuomo argues that the new electronic radio ratings system could lead to under-representation of minority listeners, and thus to a decline in ad revenues among smaller ethnic stations.

He also criticized Arbitron for publishing PPM data two days early to try and stave off a lawsuit, and has warned the company – and any advertisers participating in the scheme – to expect to face further future litigation.

Filing its own lawsuit with the US District Court in New York, Arbitron argues that restricting the expansion of PPM would be an infringement of its rights under the First Amendment.

The company also refutes the notion that PPM under-serves minority listeners, and suggests that Cuomo's last-minute intervention was "unfair" given that the launch date of PPM in New York has been public knowledge for almost a year.

Says Steve Morris, the dual-titled president, chairman and chief executive of Arbitron: "Such conduct is unfair to Arbitron and is unfair to the radio and advertising industries."

Data sourced from Business Week (online) and Associated Press; additional content by WARC staff