|Houston is first Portable People Meter market beginning July 2006; Top 10 markets to go electronic by Fall 2008|
Arbitron Inc. (NYSE:ARB) announced today that it will begin the rollout of the Portable People Meter (PPM(SM)) system as its radio ratings service in the top 50 markets.
Beginning with Houston in July 2006, Arbitron will start making the change to the Portable People Meter, an electronic audience measurement technology that has been in U.S. market trials since 2001. The PPM will be used in place of the current paper and pencil diary method that the company has employed to collect radio audience estimates since 1965.
The rollout schedule the company is announcing today would put the Portable People Meter into the top 10 radio markets by the fall of 2008, and into all of the top 50 radio markets two to three years thereafter.
"The termination of the Nielsen Media Research option for the PPM earlier this month has given Arbitron the freedom to introduce the Portable People Meter as a local market, radio audience ratings system in the United States," said Steve Morris, president and chief executive officer, Arbitron Inc. "Now that we are finally able to make a commitment to roll out the PPM for radio, we anticipate that our customers will be more willing to make a commitment to the PPM as well.
"In 2001, we took the lead by launching the first ever U.S. market trial of a portable and passive electronic measurement system for radio," said Mr. Morris. "We've spent the past five years reviewing and refining every aspect of the Portable People Meter system in close cooperation with the U.S. radio industry. We believe it's time for Arbitron to take the lead once again.
"At the same time, we will continue to work with those of our customers who are in the process of examining options for the 'next generation' of electronic measurement. Today's PPM is tenth generation technology; packed with state-of-the-art capabilities that are significant improvements over what we put in the field five years ago. And as the requirements of the radio industry continue to evolve, so will the Arbitron PPM in response to any 'next generation' needs," said Mr. Morris.
"We know one thing from our own experience with the radio industry during the development of the PPM: these sorts of 'next-generation' explorations always take far more time than anyone ever anticipates. We decided to move forward because there are important benefits that the rollout of the Portable People Meter is able to bring to radio today.
"We believe advertisers will have increased confidence in the medium, thanks to the increased accountability that electronic measurement delivers. Stations will have new audience insights to make improvements to their programming and broadcasters will be better able to garner incremental revenue from new and existing advertisers," said Mr. Morris.
Arbitron believes that the introduction of the Portable People Meter will offer significant and immediate advantages to local market radio broadcasters and their advertisers including:
-- Faster and more frequent delivery of ratings reports
-- Better insights into how people listen to radio
-- More reliable measures of the total audience reached by a radio station -- the PPM indicates that a typical radio station often reaches twice as many listeners compared to current measures of the audience
-- Additional sales opportunities for stations through better measures of the audience to special programming events and during evenings or weekends
-- More stable audience trends with far less "bounce" from one report to the next
-- The ability to report all of radio's new distribution methods: HD Radio, Internet streaming, digital multicasts, podcasting and others
The Portable People Meter has been deployed in Houston as a demonstration of the electronic ratings system since July 2005. Arbitron has previously stated that it could switch to the PPM in Houston as early as April 2006. The company is launching the service in July 2006 to give the Houston radio marketplace additional time to prepare for the transition from diary-based measurement to electronic measurement.
Arbitron will support this process by deploying a team of account managers, trainers and software specialists to work side by side with stations, agencies and advertisers who conduct business in the Houston radio market.
To date, Arbitron has announced commitments by 48 advertising agencies/global holding companies as well as broadcasters and an advertiser. The agencies that have been announced account for 75 percent of all national spot dollars for radio and a significant percentage of the local agency radio spending in Houston and also in Philadelphia, the second targeted market for PPM expansion.
Advertising Agencies Carat USA JL Media FogertyKleinMonroe Love Advertising Harmelin Media Mayo Seitz Media Mediagraphix Media Services Havas MPG (including) The Star Group --------------------- MPG MPG Diversity Publicis Media Group (including) -------------------- Horizon Media Zenith Optimedia Interpublic (including) Team One ----------------------- Conill Campbell-Ewald Saatchi & Saatchi Carmichael Lynch Starcom MediaVest Group Dailey & Associates Starlink Deutsch Tapestry Foote Cone & Belding Fallon Gotham Inc GM Planworks Hill, Holliday, Connors Cosmopolus Howard Merrell & Partners WPP (including) ID Media --------------- Initiative MindShare Universal McCann Mediaedge:CIA Tierney Communications A. Eicoff & Company Siboney Cole & Weber/Red Cell Mullen Ford Motor Media The Martin Agency J. Walter Thompson USA Jay Advertising Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations Media Marketing Solutions Wunderman Bravo Group MediaCom Broadcasters Advertisers Spanish Broadcasting Wendy's International Beasley Broadcasting
Editor's note: The list of the top 50 radio markets and the rollout dates for the PPM service is available at http://www.arbitron.com/ppmrollout.htm
A schematic diagram depicting how PPM works and photos of the system are available upon request.
About the Portable People Meter
The Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) system, which has been in market trials in the United States since 2001, uses a passive audience measurement device - about the size of a small cell phone - to track consumer exposure to media and entertainment, including broadcast, cable and satellite television; terrestrial, satellite and online radio as well as cinema advertising and many types of place-based electronic media. Carried throughout the day by randomly selected survey participants, the PPM device can track when and where they watch television, listen to radio as well as how they interact with other forms of media and entertainment.
The PPM detects inaudible codes embedded in the audio portion of media and entertainment content delivered by broadcasters, content providers and distributors. At the end of the day, the meter is placed in a docking station that extracts the codes and sends them to a central computer. The PPM is equipped with a motion sensor, a patented quality control feature unique to the system, which allows Arbitron to confirm the compliance of the PPM survey participants every day.
Arbitron Inc. (NYSE:ARB) is an international media and marketing research firm serving radio broadcasters, cable companies, advertisers, advertising agencies and outdoor advertising companies in the United States, Mexico and Europe. Arbitron's core businesses are measuring network and local market radio audiences across the United States; surveying the retail, media and product patterns of local market consumers; and providing application software used for analyzing media audience and marketing information data. The Company has also developed the Portable People Meter (PPM), a new technology for media and marketing research.
Arbitron's marketing and business units are supported by its research and technology organization, located in Columbia, Maryland. Arbitron has approximately 1,700 employees; its executive offices are located in New York City.
Through its Scarborough Research joint venture with VNU, Inc., Arbitron also provides media and marketing research services to the broadcast television, magazine, newspaper and online industries.
PPM(SM)is a service mark of Arbitron Inc.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The statements regarding Arbitron in this document that are not historical in nature, particularly those that utilize terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "likely," "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," "believes" or "plans," or comparable terminology, are forward-looking statements based on current expectations about future events, which Arbitron has derived from information currently available to it. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause our results to be materially different from results implied in such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include whether we will be able to:
-- renew all or part of contracts with large customers as they expire;
-- successfully execute our business strategies, including implementation of our Portable People Meter services and to execute potential joint venture or third party agreements;
-- effectively manage the impact of any further consolidation in the radio and advertising agency industries;
-- keep up with rapidly changing technological needs of our customer base, including creating new proprietary software systems and new customer products and services that meet these needs in a timely manner;
-- successfully manage the impact on our business of any economic downturn generally and in the advertising market in particular; and
-- successfully manage the impact on costs of data collection due to privacy concerns, technology changes and/or government regulations.
Additional important factors known to Arbitron that could cause forward-looking statements to turn out to be incorrect are identified and discussed from time to time in Arbitron's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in particular the risk factors discussed under the caption "ITEM 1. BUSINESS - Business Risks" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The forward-looking statements contained in this document speak only as of the date hereof, and Arbitron undertakes no obligation to correct or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.