Radio Facts:

Washington, DC — The Spanish Radio Association (SRA) and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) expressed their disappointment and frustration with Arbitron’s recent promises to upgrade its Portable People Meter (PPM) sampling methodology. These promises will not cure the problems that have caused PPM data to be skewed and unreliable. Indeed, Arbitron has done nothing more than assure the public that, at some point in the next two years, it will address the most glaring flaws in its PPM methodology. PPM is now currency in fourteen markets. While all currency markets have been audited, in all but two of those markets, Arbitron’s PPM service has failed to receive accreditation from the Media Rating Council (MRC). The state attorneys general of New York, New Jersey, and Maryland have taken legal action to hold Arbitron accountable for the flaws in its PPM product. The actions by the MRC and the investigations by the state attorneys general prove thatArbitron needs to take dramatic steps to fix its PPM methodology before it can deliver reliable and representative audience estimates. Arbitron’s announcement that it intends to extend many of the methodological enhancements agreed to in the New York and New Jersey settlements to all PPM markets is a good first step. However, SRA and NABOB have made clear in recent meetings with Arbitron that the actions mand ated by the state settlements are necessary but not sufficient if Arbitron is truly committed to transforming PPM into a reliable audience measurement service. According to Frank Flores, General Manager of SBS New York, “we’ve been working in earnest with Arbitron to communicate what we view as the most critical shortcomings of its PPM sampling methodology. Therefore we found it odd and quite disconcerting that neither SRA nor NABOB was consulted prior to this latest move from Arbitron. Arbitron’s implication that we are satisfied with its latest promises is disingenuous and simply not true. It reflects what we have long feared: Arbitron will exploit its unregulated monopoly position to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, regardless of the harm it inflicts on its customers.”


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