A possible deal to add Nielsen Media Research's resources behind the
deployment of Arbitron Inc.'s 'Portable People Meters' has been delayed
indefinitely while researchers gather more information.
Already delayed from mid-2002, Nielsen and Arbitron were looking at a
possible finalization of their deal at the end of the year. Instead, they are
amending the existing agreement, under which Nielsen provides financial backing
for the development of the PPM, currently being tested in Philadelphia.
Nielsen officials could not be reached for comment, but Arbitron vice
president Thom Mocarsky said that among the areas Nielsen wants fleshed out are
ways to increase the response rate.
That test is about to grow, as Arbitron said that in addition to Nielsen's
seeking more information on the PPMs, its radio clients want more information,
as well, and Arbitron plans a second panel.
In addition to the 1,000-person sample in the city and an additional 500 in
the metro area, Mocarsky said -- noting that unlike television, radio ratings
have been largely unchanged for decades -- Arbitron will add 1,000 more in a
parallel panel in Philadelphia.
The PPMs have consistently shown much higher broadcast- and cable-TV
viewership than Nielsen meter or diary numbers for the same time periods, and
for radio, numbers equivalent to past and present Arbitron measurements, with a
higher measure for station cumulative and time spent