Arbitron Announces Portable People Meter Numbers
The analysis is needed because the PPM numbers differ markedly from data reported in Arbitron's and Nielsen's meter/diary ratings. The reasons the numbers differ is due to the fact that the PPM is carried by users and measure all media, unlike the meter/diary ratings, which only measure at home use. For radio it measures what the user actually records in the diaries. The PPM reports higher numbers for users' second and third choice radio stations, because only the PPM records them. "They don't put it in the diary, so you get a big lift in the cume with the PPM," says Tom Mocarsky, an Arbitron spokesman.
The PPM also recorded higher numbers for younger listeners, because younger people don't tend to fill in diaries, he says. The PPM recorded higher cumes and audience quarter hour numbers than the diary for most age groups.
Arbitron released numbers for each individual station, providing average quarter hour (AQH), average daily cume, time spent listening and audience size. It compared the AQH number with past diary numbers, with most numbers higher for the PPM.
Arbitron also released television numbers yesterday, which were higher for the PPM, with total Persons 6+ AQH ratings 57 percent higher than Nielsen's meter/diary ratings. No explanation was given for the huge difference. Arbitron also says the highest TV ratings gains with the PPM were for younger demographics, under age 35.
It remains to be seen what these numbers actually mean and how they will impact media advertising sales. But Mocarsky is confident, saying, "The PPM appears to be living up to what we designed it to do. You see it in the cume and the unreported diary listening reported by the PPM." He says the unreported listening the PPM charts is the "phantom cume," an expression used in the industry for years to describe unreported listening.