Arbitron, Nielsen Pep Up ‘PPM’ Rates

Arbitron Inc. and Nielsen Media Research have found a way to improve response rates from participants in their “Portable People Meter” tests, officials from both companies said Monday.

By jointly testing several methodologies and altering the way they are recruiting their sample, Arbitron and Nielsen have been able to raise PPM-response rates to the 33%-34% level, versus 8%-10% before, according to both ratings services.

Using the new methodology, door-to-door reps and phone calls to recruit the sample, Arbitron will be doing a PPM demonstration in Houston this summer.

Arbitron completed a market trial of PPMs in Philadelphia in 2002.

“By combining Nielsen’s expertise in in-person panel recruitment and Arbitron’s survey-recruitment expertise, the joint tests demonstrated our ability to make major improvements over the methodology used in the 2002 test,” Jack Oken, general manager of Nielsen’s local business unit, said in a prepared statement.

Nielsen and Arbitron are exploring the feasibility of using PPMs as data-collection tools for a common panel to measure both TV and radio audiences. Both ratings companies in June 2000 unveiled an agreement to possibly launch a joint venture that would deploy PPMs for local-market measurement.