Radio Evangelist

Thoughts of a Evangelist for Radio in all its forms

Posts Tagged ‘research’

PPM, Politics, and Reality

Posted by Steve on October 8, 2009

In today’s MediaLife, an interview by Diego Vasquez with Bernie Shimkus sheds light on much of the controversy surrounding the rollout of the PPM device. Shimkus is VP/Director of Research at Harmelin Media. Harmelin is one of the largest media buying services on the east coast. Based in Philadelphia, Harmelin’s buyers and research team have been exposed to the PPM longer than people from other markets. As a media buying service, they have no ax to grind – they just want good, accurate data so that their clients can succeed.

In his interview, Diego Vasquez asks, “Are media people still concerned about charges that the PPM undercounts minorities? How much credence do you give these claims?” Shimkus answers:

Media people would be more concerned about those charges if they were based on hard, statistical facts rather than ulterior business motives.

Agencies and advertisers want accurate numbers that represent all groups as much as stations do.

Unfortunately, most of the claims about the undercounting of minorities just aren’t true.

For example, the cume audiences for most ethnic formatted stations have increased significantly under the PPM methodology. Since by definition cume audience represents the number of different people a station reaches in a week, I don’t know how higher cumes for minority stations translates into “undercounting.”

Finally, Vasquez asks, “There have been groups and politicians trying to stop the rollout of the PPM. Do you think any of them will succeed eventually? Or do you expect the issue to eventually die down?” Mr. Shimkus answers:

For the sake of our clients, and the radio industry itself, we certainly hope not. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and even more political posturing based on that misinformation.

This is not an area that politicians should be inserting themselves.

And the radio industry would be better served to stop the bickering with Arbitron, and instead concentrate on using the wealth of new data the PPM provides to make a stronger case for why radio advertising is still an effective media channel for advertisers.

Read the entire interview here.

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Interview with Ernest H. Clay of ARB

Posted by Steve on April 4, 2009

I found an archived interview of Ernest H. Clay of ARB, circa 1960, on the subject of TV ratings as they stood at the time. Very informative and many of the questions raised are the same that we hear today. Listen here.

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Nielsen, Arbitron and the upcoming battle

Posted by Steve on March 20, 2009

Does Nielsen really care about measuring radio in just small and medium markets? The big prize is – and always has been – measuring radio in major markets and nationwide, using meter technology. This is where they are going.

In an article on March 19th in Tom Taylor’s Radio-Info, Tom said:

“What kind of electronic measurement is Nielsen thinking about, for radio?

One research-industry veteran tells me “look, the competition with Arbitron will keep everybody on their toes. But they’re not doing this just to rate 51 small markets for Cumulus and Clear Channel. And they must know that when they look at the bigger markets that have the Arbitron meter, they’re not going to be able to break in there with a diary.” He figures “they must be working on something electronic” to counter the Arbitron PPM. more…

Nielsen has had a portable media measurement device in the field for several years now. It is the “Go Meter,” and has a similar technological design to Arbitron’s PPM device.

Here’s a photo of the “Go Meter:”

Nielsen could use a national rollout of the Go Meter and have the radio service subsidized by the TV service. It certainly will help economies of scale to be able to spread the cost of a national roll-out across multiple media. And, remember, Nielsen is also very interested in streaming video and audio measurement. So, they have a lot of ways to monetize the deployment of this system.

My view, radical though it may seem, is that the sticker diary program announced by Nielsen and Cumulus is a straw horse for deployment of Go Meters in the Cumulus markets in preparation for an all-out attack on Arbitron’s PPM strongholds in the top markets. Nielsen has a bottom-up strategy versus Arbitron’s top-down strategy.

Will this be a “slam-dunk” for Nielsen? No – because the new management team being formed at Arbitron, led by Michael Skarzynski, undoubtedly sees this coming.

This will be a tremendously interesting battle.

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