PPMs Pass U.K. Test


U.K. audience-research company RAJAR Ltd. has passed Arbitron Inc.'s "Portable People Meter" through to the next round of testing.

Also passing the November 2004 trial was Eurisko's Media Monitor.

RAJAR is looking for the next generation audience measurement tool for the 300-plus radio stations it monitors.

Arbitron's PPM is a pager-like device that automatically records in-home and out-of-home media exposures. It was tested for ability to identify AM, FM or digital broadcasts, speech or music, against a background of various noises, at various volumes, with the subjects at rest and in motion.

In the test, 33 radio stations were broadcast to 20 rooms, with subjects asked to carry or wear the meters into a random series of rooms.

For example, in one test a subject might carry the meter in his jacket pocket and be asked to walk around a room in which an AM and digital broadcast are playing at different volume levels against a background noise of traffic or water or speech.

"Both audimeters identified very similar numbers of listening sessions," said RAJAR Managing Direction Sally de la Bedoyere, "their level of correct identification was in line with that anticipated when designing the test."

Arbitron scored 59% and Eurisko 70%, but RAJAR points out that Eurisko had been calibrated to recognize exposures of under a minute, while Arbitron had not. Excluding the differences in set-up, the two performed essentially identically.

Arbitron and Nielsen have been jointly testing the PPMs in the U.S., most recently in Philadelphia, but Nielsen wants to do more due diligence on response rates and impact of the change to passive measurement before committing to a U.S. roll-out.