AHAA PPM AND ARBITRON MEET IN NEW YORK TO DISCUSS INDUSTRY CONCERNS ABOUT PPM IMPLEMENTATION
McLEAN, Virginia, August 21, 2008 – Members of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) PPM Council met Monday in New York with representatives from Arbitron to discuss industry issues and concerns surrounding the impending Portable People Meter (PPM) roll out. While some details were clarified and additional data will be provided by Arbitron, overall AHAA council members feel the methodology, measurement, and design of the PPM ratings system remain flawed.
The Hispanic marketing industry acknowledges that the transition from diary to electronic audience measurement is the right thing to do. “We know that electronic measurement should yield higher quality data than the diary method; however, historically, the sampling methodology that Arbitron has deployed has been flawed,” says Isabella Sánchez, AHAA PPM Council chairwoman and senior vice president and managing director of Tapestry. “Now with a more precise tool, PPM, those flaws are exacerbated. Preliminary data shows enormous declines in Hispanic station audience size, rankings and time spent listening. No matter how precise the tool, if the mechanics behind the tool are not sound, it will not accurately reflect the Latino audience. Latinos in the U.S. are not appropriately represented in the PPM sample by age breakout, country of origin or Hispanic dominance in the home, which is yielding faulty and inadequate results for our marketplace.”
The Hispanic sample size is relatively small and AHAA PPM Council members expect a much higher in-tab rate than the 60 percent target Arbitron is using as its benchmark. The in-tab, or number of people actually being counted on a given day, needs to be much higher than the current numbers indicate, according to AHAA council members, to be considered an accurate representation of the audience.
“The mechanics behind the instrument are broken,” says Sánchez. “While we anticipated a decline in the numbers just like in the transition to electronic measurement in television, the drastic changes and enormous discrepancies have highlighted the doubt that has long existed about the validity of the Arbitron methodology.”
Unlike the transition experienced on television with Nielsen, however, Arbitron continues to defend the validity of the sample and seems reluctant to implement modifications suggested by the Council to ensure the most accurate response from consumers. For example, the AHAA PPM Council has suggested maintaining diary service alongside PPM in order to transition slowly into the completely electronic measurement, but Arbitron representatives are unwilling to consider this option.
“The implementation of PPM using the current sampling methodology could have dire consequences for the Hispanic radio broadcast and advertising industries,” says José Lόpez-Varela, chairman of AHAA. “We are the stewards of our clients money, entrusted with getting their message to consumers and putting dollars in the right place at the right time to communicate effectively with their target audience. Without the appropriate tools in place – accurately reflective of the Latino marketplace – we are unable to deliver. The declines we’ve seen in the PPM test markets are the direct result of unsound sampling methodology and these severe discrepancies will have a devastating impact on our industry. Arbitron doesn’t seem to grasp the gravity of our concern with the PPM sampling methodology.”
Although Arbitron has agreed to provide information to help council members understand the differences and similarities between PPM and diary methodologies, the sampling issues are still not resolved. “We just have a more precise tool burdened with all of the same problems,” says Sánchez. “The dialogue and conversation between Arbitron and the AHAA PPM Council will continue as we work toward resolution that will benefit everyone.”
For more information on AHAA's position on PPM or the Hispanic advertising industry, contact Elinor Kinnier, 703-610-0204, firstname.lastname@example.org.