In a conference call Thursday, The Arbitron Co. reported higher total-day
Monday-through-Sunday ratings, particularly for cable, in its 'Portable People
Meter' test conducted from April through June.
The PPM test was based on responses from 260 people in the Wilmington, Del.,
market, where 40 people were not counted due to breakage or loss of the
pager-sized PPM devices, according to Arbitron worldwide PPM-development
president Marshall Snyder and research-standards and practices vice president
Cable's total-day, average quarter-hour rating was a 2.1 among the PPM
sample, roughly double the 1.0 rating for the existing Nielsen Media Research
meter and diary system. Broadcast-television stations' PPM rating was 11.9
(versus 10.9), while radio held at 9.1 (9.0).
For both TV and cable, the PPM reported higher average quarter-hour audiences
across all dayparts, Arbitron said, due partly to increased viewing among men
18-plus and to the meters' ability to track out-of-home viewing.
Cable ratings tend to suffer in diaries, but the PPM eliminates the need for
people to keep track of their viewing, Arbitron said. Although the PPM does not
yet break out in-home and out-of-home viewing, Snyder said, the researcher is
exploring ways to do so.
The PPM tallied ratings for eight local TV stations, eight cable channels and
35 radio stations from programming with embedded coding that was picked up by
The Wilmington trial will continue for several more months, and results
should improve this month when more cable networks will be measured -- 18 of 25
channels have agreed to encoding, Patchen said.
The next step is to proceed with deployment of a much larger sample in the
broader Philadelphia DMA, Snyder said. All told, the sample will increase to
1,500 people, with the sampling process due to begin this fall and deployment
and installation during the first quarter, he added.
As an incentive to get the sample to faithfully undock the PPM devices each
morning and dock them each night so that the data can be downloaded, the
executives said, Arbitron conducts monthly prize drawings. Each
'sweepstakes-style' prize is valued at several-hundred dollars.
Nielsen released a statement indicating that it will continue to work with
Arbitron on future testing. But the Arbitron executives said Nielsen has not yet
committed to becoming a joint-venture partner.