Broadcasters Begin Committing To Arbitron's PPM

Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. announced Friday that it was signing up for radio ratings results from Arbitron's portable people meter (PPM), an electronic passive measurement device Arbitron is touting as a replacement for old-fashioned paper diaries.

Although a number of ad agencies have signed up for PPM results, SBS is the second radio broadcaster to do so, after the January announcement by Beasley Broadcast Group that it would adopt Arbitron results in Philadelphia--a move Arbitron interprets as a sign of increasing momentum for the device.

The SBS announcement is interesting because it comes from a broadcasting company that targets the highly desirable Spanish-language demographic, a niche market that has captured the attention of media buyers and ad execs over the last few years.

In the past, foreign-language and ethnic audience broadcasters have usually waited for larger radio networks to prove the viability of new methods before adopting them, but SBS' early reach for PPM results seems to indicate that these niche broadcasters, aware of their audience's growing desirability, may be trying to move out front in the areas of metrics and ROI--perhaps in a bid to widen their early competitive lead.



Nonetheless, Arbitron faces a number of hurdles before the PPM is adopted as an industry standard. For one thing, radio giant Clear Channel is still evaluating responses to an RFP seeking new electronic measurement devices, including a number of alternatives competing with the PPM. Clear Channel has promised to announce a finalist by the end of first quarter 2006.

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