Arbitron, Nielsen want to wait on PPM
Neither is ready to join to deploy Portable People Meter
By Dan Trigoboff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/9/2002 8:00:00 PM
Nielsen Media Research and Arbitron last week delayed a decision on a joint venture for deployment of Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) from mid year to the fourth quarter.
'We had anticipated that we could form the joint venture with Nielsen Media Research by the middle of 2002,' said Steve Morris, president/CEO of Arbitron, in a statement. 'It's clear that both our companies need additional time to consider whether to establish the proposed venture.'
Arbitron has said commercial deployment will require resources of Nielsen, which is evaluating Arbitron's technology. The Portable People Meter tallies viewership (or radio listening) even outside the home.
Nielsen has been an investor and partner in Arbitron's current PPM test in Philadelphia, but it has its own improved people-meter project in Boston.
The talks have been 'substantive, comprehensive and thorough' and 'have taken place at all levels of the company,' Arbitron VP Thom Mocarsky said, adding the companies hadn't anticipated how much needed to be done before deciding. Nielsen agrees.
Nielsen just brought out its own state-of-the-art people meters for local use
in Boston, but most stations there (all the major ones) rejected its use and
currently operate without any Nielsen research. General managers
there call the technology flawed and the measurements suspect and have suggested they might prefer the PPM.
For the longest time,' noted Nielsen spokesman Jack Loftus, 'Nielsen has been criticized for not bringing forth the very best in television-audience measurement, getting more of what people do, rather than what they say they do.'
Nielsen says that, regardless of a potential deal with Arbitron, it will still go forward with its own local people meters.
Nielsen sees itself offering several high-tech measuring tools including both its and Arbitron's meters-assuming the companies go forward-plus what it calls its Active/Passive meter, using encoded signals to measure viewing for digital TV.
Arbitron's May test data will be released to radio and TV participants July 2; TV data to advertisers and agencies July 30.
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