Arbitron and the Person People Meter Coalition have struck
an agreement on a path forward to improving the audience measurement system,
according to Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), who gave the deal a shout-out late
Wednesday (April 21).
"I am pleased to announce that Arbitron and the PPMC reached
an agreement this week to address methodological and other problems associated
with the Personal People Meter," he said in a statement. "They have
worked collaboratively to establish a plan of action that includes viable
solutions and a realistic timetable for addressing the issues associated with use
of the Personal People Meter.â€ª"
has been a key figure in the ongoing face-off between Arbitron and the
group, which has long argued the meters undercount minority viewing.
Towns committee released a report back in September 2009
concluding that, among other things, "the ratings company was not
sufficiently recruiting Spanish-dominant Hispanics for its survey."
Arbitron countered that the conclusions were erroneous. The report was released
after the committee subpoenaed the Media Ratings Council for documents of its
oversight of the PPM. MRC was created by
Congress back in the 1960s to independently vet media ratings, though its seal
of approval is not necessary for a company or technology to operate in the space.
The FCC and the Government Accountability Office had also
looked into the complaints that the PPMs undercount minorities.
While it is primarily about radio-listening, the issue is
important to TV stations as well.
The FCC uses Arbitron markets in its multiple ownership
rules, which determine in which markets TV, radio and newspapers can be