NEW YORK: Arbitron is resuming the roll-out of its controversial electronic radio audience measurement system, the Portable People Meter, across a number of US markets.
The launch of the PPM was delayed in certain parts of the country following complaints from some broadcasters that target young people and minorities, in particular Spanish-language stations.
They still claim that under-representation on Arbitron's audience panels unfairly skews their ratings, but the company's president/ceo, Steve Morris, insists the numbers have improved following the intervention last year of the Media Rating Council.
As a result, the PPM will move into eight further markets in October, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago and San Jose. At the same time Arbitron will scrap its paper dairy measurement system in those areas.
Adds Morris: "It's time to move forward with electronic measurement for radio. Radio broadcasters and advertisers are taking bold steps in an effort to enhance the accountability of the medium.
"The PPM is uniquely capable of delivering the granularity, precision and speed of reporting that can help radio make these and other accountability initiatives a success."
Nonetheless, the newly formed Spanish Radio Association remains to be convinced and has urged Arbitron to hold fast on the PPM until the "principles of fair market representation" are fulfilled.
Declares Jeffery Liberman, president of Entravision's radio division: "Hispanic buying power is growing substantially and was estimated to be in excess of $840 billion (€544.8bn; £429bn) in the US in 2007.
"Based on this growth, it is extremely important that Arbitron ensures sound methodology and representation of Hispanics."
Data sourced from mrweb.com (UK); additional content by WARC staff