Raters Ramp Up ROI Test

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Arbitron Inc., Nielsen Media Research parent VNU and ad-client giant Procter & Gamble Co. are teaming up to test "Portable People Meters" as a way to better gauge return on investment.

The new national marketing service would pay volunteers to carry Arbitron's portable, pager-like meters. Data would be collected from the meters, which measure exposure to multiple media sources, then correlated with information on the volunteer's subsequent shopping/purchase behavior to give advertisers a better measure of the point-of-purchase bang they are getting for their marketing buck.

P&G was included to make sure the system "properly addresses the needs of marketers."

Included in the volunteer sample will be panelists from Nielsen's existing Homescan consumer panel, which keeps tabs on packaged goods purchases.

"Our goal is to provide the broadest possible view of the interaction between marketing and media elements in a way that allows marketers to maximize their return on investment," says Steve Morris, president and CEO, of Arbitron.

Arbitron and VNU say the system will be distinct from their respective TV and radio ratings services.

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