Arbitron Inc. said a decision on a possible joint venture with Nielsen Media Research for commercial deployment of Arbitron's Portable People Meter will be delayed from
midyear until the fourth quarter.
Nielsen has been an investor and partner in Arbitron's test of the PPM in
"We had anticipated that we could form the joint venture with Nielsen Media
Research by the middle of 2002," Arbitron president and CEO Steve Morris said.
"It's clear that both our companies need additional time to consider whether to
establish the proposed venture."
Arbitron has said such a commercial deployment will require the
resources of Nielsen, which is evaluating the Arbitron technology.
The talks have been "substantive, comprehensive and thorough" and "have taken
place at all levels of the company," Arbitron vice president and spokesman Thom
The two companies simply didn't anticipate how much needed to be done before
deciding and proceeding to a joint venture, he added.
Nielsen said that regardless of a potential deal with Arbitron, it will still
go forward with its own local people meters, which launched in Boston prior to
the May sweeps but without much local broadcaster participation.
Arbitron's PPM tracks coded signals from TV, cable and radio
stations, and it is currently being tested with 11 TV stations, 22 cable networks
and 47 radio stations in the Philadelphia market.
May test data will be released to radio and TV participants July 2, with
the TV data released to advertisers and agencies July 30. July data will be
released Sept. 3, September data will be released Nov. 5, October data will be
released Dec. 3 and November data will be released Jan. 7 of next year.