Arbitron of the US and London-headquartered global market research specialist Taylor Nelson Sofres are in advanced negotiation regarding an international joint venture to market the former’s Portable People Meter.

The PPM has been under test in the US for over a year [WAMN: 17-Apr-02] and, unlike conventional audience measurement systems, can track its panel’s listening or viewing behaviour both within and outside the home.

Similar in size to a pager and using wireless technology, the meters automatically detect a unique code embedded in each radio station’s broadcast signal. The listening or viewing data is then downloaded overnight by modem.

The two companies are already negotiating contracts with industry bodies in Australia and Belgium and plan to jointly market the PPM in all countries outside the USA.

The introduction of PPMs is likely to be welcomed in the UK – especially by smaller radio broadcasters who argue that the present Radio Joint Audience Research system favours the larger stations whose higher profile among listeners is due to their greater marketing spend.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff