Arbitron Revamping `PPM' Test


Arbitron Inc. said it will fine-tune its 'Portable People Meter' test.

The researcher sent out an update memo Tuesday evening via electronic mail
from Los Angeles, during an Arbitron Radio Advisory Council meeting, in which
spokesman Thom Mocarsky said Arbitron is responding to requests for more
information from the radio industry, for more research and development from the
television industry and for more confirmation of current findings by the ad

In addition, Arbitron said, talks continue with Nielsen Media Research
pertaining to their proposed joint venture. Both companies are investigating
further research aimed at improving PPM response rates, Mocarsky said.

Having run its Philadelphia PPM test for close to one year, Arbitron now will
'move on to the next stage of research and testing.'

Following its fall-2002 radio survey and its November 2002 TV report,
Arbitron said, it 'will no longer use the current Philadelphia [consumer] panel
to produce regular releases' of ratings reports that can be compared with its
existing audience-ratings measurements.

Instead, it plans to 'build the first of the twin panels in the second half
of 2003 and the second of the twin panels in the first half of 2004,' Mocarsky

Arbitron has yet to decide whether these twin samples will be gathered in
Philadelphia 'or in a different market -- one with significant Hispanic
population.' Expanding its Latino sample 'would allow us to integrate the
Hispanic research test and the twin-panel test into a single coordinated
effort,' he added.

Nielsen executives will be involved in the decision process, which could also
result in a separate Hispanic test, he noted.

In any case, Mocarsky said, those decisions probably will be made 'by the end
of the first half of 2003.'