Arbitron to launch PPM’s in July

Arbitron Inc say they will begin introducing its Portable People Meter ratings measurement device in the top 50 U.S. markets, replacing paper and pencil diary methods this July.

Beginning with Houston in July, Arbitron says it plans to introduce the People Meter electronic audience measurement device to the top 10 U.S. markets, including New York and Los Angeles, by October 2008. The company will introduce the device to the top 50 U.S. markets by October 2010.

The PPM, which is about the size of a pager, sends information on what stations people are listening to, and for how long, to a data collection center. This will replace the current diary system.

Pierre Bouvard, Arbitron president of marketing, said: “This greatly expands the speed in which we get the information and the accuracy because people tend to exaggerate in diaries. With the device, it’s so easy, they don’t have to do anything.”

Radio market analysts say the switch to portable, 24-hour meters is a welcome change for advertisers and producers.

Bill Cook, a market researcher with the Advertising Research Foundation in New York said: “Nobody thinks the diary is a good solution, it’s too inaccurate.”

“The numbers for this device are far more reliable and I think advertisers are readily welcoming this new rating system to make smarter decisions about who they’re marketing to.”