Hurricane Market Status Report
Arbitron Inc. (NYSE: ARB) today issued its second status report for its Portable People MeterTM and diary radio ratings services in markets impacted by Hurricane Ike and Gustav.
Daily meetings continue to take place at Arbitron to review the status of surveys and panels in the affected markets. We are continuing to monitor (at a county/sampling unit level) the status of electrical power, telephone service, postal services, station programming/simulcasts and the survey data for the affected markets.
Houston-Galveston Portable People Meter radio ratings service
Recruitment for PPMTM ratings services in Houston-Galveston remains suspended. Panel management activities and contacts are being closely monitored, in addition to meter data feeds back to Arbitron, including in-tab and performance metrics. Panelists who have made it back home and those who are still away from home have slowly begun to check in. We are beginning to contact panelists whose equipment has communicated back with Arbitron, being sensitive to their current conditions.
We are also establishing contact with radio station general managers, program directors, and broadcast engineers to address any encoding questions or concerns. Many stations are on-air and encoding. We are asking that station programming and simulcast information, technical difficulties and interruptions in encoding be reported to Arbitron.
We are also evaluating the PPM data for September 2008 Week 4 (September 11 – 17) and are considering our reporting options.
Arbitron makes every attempt to produce a radio market survey following an event of this type, taking into consideration the physical and economic impact of the event and our ability to research respondents within the market.
We will refrain from publishing audience estimates if the disaster impedes our ability to place sample or receive data from respondents that we are unable to produce audience estimates in which we have confidence. We also consider input from our subscribers.
Diary-based radio ratings services
For the diary markets of Beaumont-Pt. Arthur, Lake Charles, LA, New Orleans, LA, Lafayette, LA, and Lufkin-Nacogdoches, placement calling for the Fall 2008 survey has resumed in all markets where calling was previously suspended. The interviewers who are calling these impacted markets have been given training on how to be sensitive to the status and concerns of the respondents they contact.
Fall Week 3 (October 2 through 8) diary placement begins this week. Follow-up calls for Fall Week 1 (September 18 – 24) and Week 2 (September 25-October 1) are also taking place.
Hurricane Gustav -- Summer 2008 Diary Service
Today, September 17 is the last day of the Summer 2008 survey. We continue to monitor closely the diary returns from New Orleans and Baton Rouge for weeks 10 and 11 when Gustav made landfall. Diaries for September 11 – 17 (the final week of the 12 week survey) are scheduled to begin coming back to Arbitron next week.
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