Arbitron to commercialize PPM by October

Published on: 2015-02-05

As Media Buyer Planner notes:

Despite protests from some of its PPM clients and others calling for MRC accreditation, Arbitron announced today that it will resume the commercialization of its PPM radio ratings service in eight markets. Commercialization will begin on October 8, 2008.

“We have improved our PPM samples in the four key areas we outlined last November,” said Steve Morris, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Arbitron. Morris said the company has enhanced its ability to deliver PPM sample targets, improved the composition of the PPM panels - especially among the 18-34 demo - and raised the day-to-day cooperation rate of PPM respondents.

Our take:

If you're unfamiliar with Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM), it's a small device that essentially constantly listens to and records background noise as people carry them around in their day-to-day activities.  Content encoded with a special signal triggers the PPM, and it records an "impression".  Thus, the PPM becomes something like a walking Nielsen box.

The device -- and the data it collects -- has come under fire for a variety of reasons, including imperfect data acquisition and lackluster adoption rates, but Arbitron has steadily been improving the program since its introduction about two years ago.  The devices have even been used to track some ad impressions in digital signage networks, though that market continues to be on the fringe for the tech (it's primary purpose is to track radio impressions, and then, out-of-home billboards).

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