Wednesday, May 21, 2008

There Are At Least Ten Restaurants Within Walking Distance

Arbitron's New York office is at 142 West 57th Street
. I am as concerned about getting sample sizes up as anyone in our business, but somone needs to take someone to lunch and say these things face to face.

The latest figures posted at ARB's site estimate radio's total national 12+ audience in the continuous measurement markets at 21,074,800 in an average quarter hour.

The country format has an estimated 1,672,200 of those folks.

That's only 7.9% of the AQH persons but our above average TSL enables us to generate a national average quarter hour share of 9.7 from those people.

How big does the national sample have to be to make sure that our 7.9% is fairly represented book after book? Once we have that number, let's extrapolate it to every local market.

I'd bet that will end up being +/- 10-15% of the sample targets listed in the book, not 30-40%.

Hopefully, we can all agree that it makes sense to spend money on accomplishing that rather than buying multi-media advertising airing our (very) dirty laundry in pubic.

(ps - BIG thanks to Jones Radio Networks VP of Country Media Jim Murphy for doing the math correctly for me!)


Frank Saxe said...

SBS takes PPM concerns to public.
Spanish Broadcasting System says the impact of PPM on their stations could be "devastating." So it's launching an ad campaign taking its concerns to the Hispanic community and its advertisers. SBS says it wants "fair and equitable" measurement of listeners.

Tom Taylor said...

The Media Rating Council may be ready to discuss Philadelphia. I hear there’s a meeting in early June and although getting anything out of the MRC is like getting Indiana Jones to tell you where the treasure’s buried, I suspect “Philadelphia” is high on the agenda. It almost has to be, because it’s the other “live” market for the meter, and Arbitron’s no doubt submitted boxes of evidence showing that it’s improving sample there in the younger demo. The timing of a Council meeting in early June would be appropriate. Arbitron hopes to turn the key in the ignition and get back on schedule for PPM rollouts, beginning with “pre-currency” in June. If they could brandish accreditation in Philly, that could silence Bob Neil, Inner City and other critics. (At least on the question of accreditation.)

Meanwhile – I expect that today’s 10am monthly PPM call will show real progress in beefing up the 25-34 and other problem sample areas for Philadelphia. Question is: Does improving the index there come at the expense of the upper part of the 25-54 spectrum?

How much trouble is Arbitron in? It’s bad for them that both Spanish Broadcasting System and Inner City are well-connected players in New York – that’s the place where Nielsen took a pounding over its Local Meter rollout, when politicians got hold of the issue of minorities and minority media allegedly being short-changed. And outside consultant MirRam knows which doors to rattle, from its Nielsen campaign. But the “ARB” stock didn’t really seem to be shaking yesterday until something completely different occurred in mid-afternoon – the announcement of yet another potential class action suit related to what Arbitron did (or didn’t do) in the four months leading up to the November 26 suspension of the People Meter rollout. This suit by Baltimore-based Brower Piven joins other class-action hopefuls in trying to extract a settlement out of Arbitron’s hide for its alleged failure to come clean about the meter. Specifically, Brower Piven alleges that Arbitron and its senior management “violated federal securities laws by issuing various materially false and misleading statements” that pumped up the stock price. But basically – Arbitron’s been getting good press from Wall Street, and yesterday it closed up 40 cents at $48.51. Last Friday Bear Stearns upped “ARB” from peer perform to “outperform.” Can MirRam stir up real trouble? Can Cox and Inner City? Sure – but that’s yet to be seen.

For Arbitron, it’s PPM or bust. I think Arbitron’s going to put every ounce of muscle it’s got into a re-start of the People Meter schedule for New York, L.A., etc. beginning in June for the pre-currency stage. CEO Steve Morris told analysts on his recent quarterly call that things were “on track” and I think they’re just going to keep pushing – pretty much the way the Mays family did on the deal to go private with Clear Channel. Check later this morning for a report from the 10am regular monthly PPM call. Special guest star will be CBS Radio President Dan Mason – and I expect he’ll mostly be talking about "posting", comparing actual ratings delivered for a spot buy to what the client was promised. But Dan may be pulled into other issues. As for Arbitron itself: I expect that execs like Pierre Bouvard will be speaking in tones as reassuring as a parent laying a kid down to bed for the night – there aren’t any boogiemen out there, things are fine, you’re safe…

Thom Mocarsky said...

Arbitron is committed to completing an MRC audit and a thorough review of that audit in every market before we commercialize electronic measurement.

We are also committed to ultimately obtaining MRC accreditation for our currency services.

Minimum standards in the MRC’s draft Voluntary Code of Conduct simply call for an audit to be submitted before commercialization.