Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tsk! Tsk! (It's Not Nice To Try To Fool 'Mother Arbitron')

The Fresno Bee's Rick Bentley dug into the story of ARB's reissue of the Fresno trends last month and got specifics about what happened and who did it (Darrell Dahlberg, an AE had filled out two ratings diaries) you seldom see in print:
"...At first it looked like a ratings slide was over for KISS Country with a slight increase in the March numbers, but it was impropriety affecting the Arbitron ratings.."

Jessica Benbow of Arbitron press relations, explains that the ratings company tries to avoid such situations with their initial calls to potential diary keepers. If the person says he or she is with the media, no diary is sent. Benbow calls such a distortion "very rare."

Dahlberg's diaries also impacted the rolling April averages of course, but those ratings numbers had not been released before Arbitron took action to correct the problem. As soon as Arbitron became aware of Dahlberg's action, the company removed the two diaries from the mix. Benbow would not say if Arbitron caught the bad diaries or was tipped off by an outside party. The adjusted ratings have been sent to local radio stations.

Before the bad diaries were caught, KSKS had a 4.5 share of the listeners 12 years old and up for the winter ratings. A share is the percentage of listeners tuned in to a station in a given period. This came after ratings of 5.7 in the spring 2007 Arbitron book, 5.0 in the summer and 4.4 in the fall.

After the diaries were removed, KSKS dropped to a 4.0. That may not sound like a lot, but it was enough to drop KSKS from a tie for fourth place to 10th place in the competitive Fresno market.

The effect is more dramatic with specific demographics. The initial Arbitron ratings showed that KSKS went from a 4.7 share for women age 18-34 in February to a 17.0 share in March. The new numbers show that KSKS actually went from a 4.7 to an 11.3. The two books were part of the 1,074 returned to Arbitron for analysis for the time period. Arbitron sent 1,704 books to this market, one book for every 430 people in the market.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Interesting that 2 diaries can drop a station's 12+ numbers from a 4.5 down to a 4.0.
Is arbitron statistically accurate?