Arbitron Gets MRC Nod for Houston Test


Arbitron says the TV ratings produced by its Portable People Meter technology for the Houston, Tex., market have met the standards of the independent Media Rating Council (MRC), which could give the service greater credibility with programmers and advertisers. 

According to the New York-based media-measurement firm, MRC has accredited the average-quarter-hour, time-period television ratings data for Houston produced by the Portable People Meter ratings service. The service relies on a passive audience measurement device the size of a cellphone that tracks consumer exposure to media and entertainment. 

MRC accreditation means the Arbitron TV ratings service delivers audience estimates that substantially comply with the MRC’s Minimum Standards for Media Rating Research, which include requirements for ethics and operations, for disclosure and for electronic delivery tools. 

“This is a significant milestone for Arbitron,” said Owen Charlebois, president, Operations, Technology and Research & Development, Arbitron Inc., in a statement. “The Portable People Meter is the only personal, portable electronic meter system that’s ever been subjected to an MRC audit and has met the accreditation standards of the Media Rating Council for a portable meter service, collecting data on radio, local television and cable use from one sample of consumers, at home and away from home." 

While MRC accredited the Portable People Meter ratings data for radio in Houston last January, Arbitron did not have a license to use its current source of language-universe estimates in Houston in order to language-weight the PPM television audience estimates at that time. Arbitron subsequently obtained a license for language-universe estimates in the market, and the MRC has since accredited the average-quarter-hour, time-period television ratings data produced by the Portable People Meter ratings service there. 

Arbitron and TV ratings giant Nielsen have been working together for the past two years with the intention of rolling out the Portable People Meter technology on a national basis, though no formal timetable for deployment has been set.