FCC Closes Book on PPM Inquiry

Critics withdraw petition

The FCC's Media Bureau has dropped its inquiry into Arbitron's Portable People Meters.

That came after critics of the technology, the PPM Coalition, withdrew its petition for the inquiry. According to the FCC, on April 20, 2010, the coalition and Arbitron "agreed on a plan that presents a framework to address the coalition's concerns."

That includes enhancing recruiting methodology to increase panelist participation in key segments.
Those PPM concerns had included that the meters undercounted minorities. "[B]ased upon the progress that has been made to date, PPMC asserts that no further investigation by the Commission is warranted," the FCC said, and agreed.

The House Government Oversight Committee pushed Arbitron, the coalition and the Media Rating Council to come up with the changes. The FCC's diversity committee withdrew its request for an investigation into the meters.

While the FCC dropped the inquiry, it said it would follow the diversity recommendation's to have its Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) monitor the plan and confer with the oversight committee.

The Media Bureau will coordinate oversight with OCBO.

The FCC uses Arbitron data in its multiple ownership rules, which determine in which markets TV, radio and newspapers can be co-owned.