Ball State Media-Use Study Catches Arbitron’s Eye

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Arbitron has taken an interest in a Ball State University study that found major underreporting in traditional phone and diary audience measurement techniques.

The study, which in some cases found more than twice the media use than traditional methods had, concluded that the industry should develop technology to measure a multitasking world.

Professor Bob Papper, co-author of the study, says Arbitron has contacted him and wants to talk about the findings. He says a number of media companies and ad agencies are also interested in the findings.

He will appear at the RTNDA convention in Las Vegas in April to talk about news usage. The study was a one-shot deal, with funding from a Lilly grant. Papper hopes to turn it into a regular thing. "This was a snapshot," he says, "but we’d like to do it on a quarterly basis, with rolling averages."

He also points out that the study was conducted in the traditionally lower viewing months of July and August. He expects underreporting would be even greater at higher viewing times. One way to help fund the next study would be to drill down into the data and sell carve-outs to various sectors, a tack he says is likely.