The Personal Portable Meter. An Audience Measurement Technique for the Future

Ronald S. Kolessar (The Arbitron Company) United States
Carol P. Stowell (The Arbitron Company) United States

BACKGROUND

In 1994, Arbitron addressed the ESOMAR/ARF Worldwide Electronic Audience Research Symposium in Paris about our vision for a new audience measurement tool, given the complexities of the future environment facing broadcasting and cable TV. We explained why it is critical to develop alternatives to current audience measurement methods and why Arbitron has focused on an audio encoding approach - with its multimedia capability - as the most promising method.

Most of the events predicted in 1994 regarding signal delivery have either already occurred or are evolving today, three years later.

  • Digital radio services with signal compression continue to grow.
  • Digital television and HDTV, while not in wide use today, are certainly imminent, promising an expansion from fifty channel choices to 500 or more in the not-too-distant future.
  • Cable television, with its move into the use of fiber optics, continues to offer more services.
  • Wireless delivery via cellular communications and satellite data links is continuing to grow.
  • Satellite delivery services such as DBS and USSB, which were fledgling ventures just a few short years ago, can already boast of subscribership in the millions.