Hot Topic - Measurement
The fun – for some – in looking at new audience figures is seeing which stations are up and which are down. Measurement companies take that fun away when changing methods and systems. Oh, well, we must look forward.
With the great 21st century platform shift there’s more audience out there broadcasters have discovered. Tracking them down is something of a challenge. It may take non-linear thinking.
Broadcasters and publishers dare not blink this week, next week or the nanosecond after that. Digital media is upon us. What we’ve learned is to look everywhere for learning.
Surprising some, Arbitron has named a new CEO. Surprising none, the company continues its transition to technology developer. The year 2009 will certainly be one of transitions.
Two US broadcasters – Cumulus Media and Clear Channel Radio – have opened the door for the Nielsen Company to measure radio audiences. Nielsen will measure 50 small US cities starting Q3 2009. Nielsen has been active in radio measurement in the rest of the world but has stayed television-only in the US, giving Arbitron a near monopoly.
Television being the world-wide distraction of choice, governments look for opportunities to interfere with, say some, or improve, say others, the programs and the business. Audience measurement being not only the currency for trading air-time for ad spending but a means of picking winners and also-rans, broadcasters look for any competitive advantage. It’s logical, then, that governments would want ‘fair and balanced’ ratings. It’s logical, too, that broadcasters might be skeptical.
Well, some have and some haven’t. But then one of the oldest anecdotes in broadcasting is: when the ratings are good, credit my brilliant programming, and when ratings are bad, blame the measurement system. The howling by several US broadcasters about Arbitron’s PPM system only grows louder.
This could be one of those days when Arbitron CEO Steve Morris wakes up asking himself why he ever left that good job running the Maxwell House coffee business for General Foods. Yesterday (Wednesday November 14) four of his biggest clients – Clear Channel Radio, Cox Radio, Cumulus Media and Radio One – fired off a letter, provided to ftm, that began, 'It is with the utmost urgency and objection that we, your customers, send you this letter.'
A new problem surfaced this week for US media measurement agency Arbitron in their roll-out of radio audience surveys collected with the Personal People Meter (PPM). A big chunk of data from the Houston, Texas survey disappeared. Arbitron calls it an “error.” Broadcasters call it a crisis.
Also see in ftm Knowledge
Media Measurement - Changing Times
The times are changing and so is media measurement. Big research companies are changing and growing. And governments are putting in their hands. Includes: mobile and internet metrics, electronic measurement systems and device descriptions, PPM (US) debate. 73 pages PDF (January 2009)
Available at no charge to ftm Members, others from €49