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Statement from:

AHAA REGARDING ARBITRON'S SETTLEMENT WITH THE STATES OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY OVER PORTABLE PEOPLE METER (PPM) ACCURACY 

 McLEAN, Va., January 9, 2009 — The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) shared with its members the encouraging news of Arbitron’s agreement to settle with the states of New York and New Jersey to resolve the sampling methodology issues surrounding the Portable People Meter (PPM) radio audience measurement tool. Members of AHAA’s PPM task force worked diligently with Arbitron representatives to communicate and address the concerns of the Hispanic-specialized marketing industry and we look forward to working with them further on the modifications they will be implementing. Wednesday’s announcement by the Attorneys General Cuomo (NY) and Milgram (NJ) was a significant breakthrough to ensure accurate representation of Hispanic radio listeners and preserve a critical marketing medium for this powerful population.

Based on the information released in statements by the Attorneys General, AHAA applauds the steps to be taken by Arbitron to “ adopt new standards to cure flaws in its PPM methodology,” as required in its agreements with the states.

“While the New York and New Jersey settlements are significant victories for Hispanic specialized marketing and media, these important changes to the PPM methodology need to occur nationwide in markets in which the PPM rating system is proposed or is being implemented currently,” says José Lόpez-Varela, AHAA chairman. “Spanish-language radio stations are the lifeblood of Latino communities and provide a vital connection between brands and consumers. The current PPM methodology poses severe consequences on our entire industry and although New York and New Jersey will be rectified, we remain concerned about our business in the rest of the country. In fact, we are puzzled by a comment from an Arbitron executive in response to the settlement indicating that ‘broadcasters, agencies, and advertisers in New York can continue to use PPM measurement of radio without any hesitation or reservation.”

“The flawed ratings and inaccurate representation of our market using PPM prohibits AHAA agencies from effectively doing their jobs and delivering results for their clients. When a research sample is inaccurate, the research is invalid and the current PPM sample is unsound. On behalf of the AHAA member agencies and our Spanish-language radio partners, we are pleased with the outcome of this issue and appreciate the follow through of the Attorneys General to ensure that Arbitron adheres ‘to rigorous standards to make PPM a better product.’ In the end, that was the goal of AHAA and its PPM Task Force.

“We were pleased to see that the settlement included MRC accreditation and a bias study, which should prove beneficial to Arbitron in making appropriate modifications to the sampling. These are great first steps and we look forward to continuing to work with Arbitron, as we have since the introduction of PPM, to secure valid radio ratings data for the Hispanic market.”

AHAA appreciates the swift action taken by Attorneys General Cuomo and Milgram, as well as their commitment to fairness and the protection of civil rights and sound business practice in their states.

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