Arbitron reaches agreement with the Maryland Attorney General
Company agrees to specific actions in Washington D.C. and Baltimore consistent with its continuous improvement program for Portable People Meter services
Arbitron Inc. (NYSE: ARB) announced today that it has reached an agreement with the Office of the Attorney General of Maryland regarding the company’s Portable People MeterTM radio ratings services in Washington D.C. and Baltimore.
Arbitron has agreed to a number of actions in these two radio markets consistent with its ongoing continuous improvement programs for the Portable People Meter ratings services.
Michael Skarzynski, president and chief executive officer, stated: “The company’s long-standing continuous improvement programs are a powerful framework for enhancing our Portable People Meter radio ratings services. This agreement with the Maryland Attorney General further indicates that Arbitron is proceeding along the appropriate course as we commercialize PPM in the top radio markets.”
Arbitron commercialized the PPMTM radio ratings service in Washington D.C. on December 31, 2008. The Washington D.C. radio market includes the following geographic areas in Maryland: Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.
In summary, within the PPM service for the Washington D.C. radio market, Arbitron has agreed to:
Recruit panelists using a combination of telephone-based and addressed-based sampling methods. Arbitron has committed to use the address-based sampling technique for at least 10 percent of its sampling efforts by or before October 1, 2009 and at least 15 percent of its recruitment efforts by the end of December 2010;
Increase cell-phone-only sampling to at least 10 percent of all recruitment efforts by or before October 1, 2009 and at least 15 percent of all recruitment efforts by the end of December 2010;
Take all reasonable measures to ensure a minimum Sample Performance Indicator (SPI) of 15 percent and to obtain and maintain a minimum SPI of 17 percent by June 2010 with a target SPI for the market of 20 percent or higher;
Take all reasonable measures to ensure average in-tab rates of at least 75 percent for the overall persons age 6 and older population, and to ensure that categories and subcategories comprising 10 percent or more of the radio population for the market fall within 85 percent of the overall 75 percent target;
Provide to Washington D.C. market subscribers monthly reports detailing the PPM installed and in-tab sample sizes by individual zip code;
Take all reasonable measures to obtain accreditation for the PPM radio ratings service from the Media Rating Council®; and
Include a disclaimer on written promotional material and websites indicating that PPM ratings are based on audience estimates and should not be relied on for precise accuracy or precise representativeness of the radio market.
Regarding the PPM radio ratings service in Baltimore
Arbitron is currently scheduled to commercialize the PPM radio ratings service in Baltimore with the release of the September 2009 survey report on October 9, 2009. The Company has agreed to use comparable methods and comply with comparable terms in connection with the commercialization of the PPM service in Baltimore that reflect the different demographic characteristics of that market and the timetable for commercializing the PPM methodology in Baltimore. Arbitron and the Maryland Attorney General will agree to the specific comparable terms at a later date.
The Baltimore radio market consists of Anne Arundel County; Baltimore City; Baltimore County; Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County; and Queen Anne’s County, all in Maryland.
About the Portable People Meter
The Arbitron Portable People Meter system 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. PPM ratings are based on audience estimates and represent the opinion of Arbitron.
PPM ratings, like all audience estimates however derived, should not be relied on for precise accuracy or precise representativeness of a demographic or radio market.
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