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Arbitron, Nielsen Report PPM Progress

Arbitron Inc. and Nielsen Media Research reported Tuesday that they’ve made some progress in improving response rates when they try to enlist participants for their "Portable People Meter" system.

In a research test of two sampling and recruitment techniques, consumer-response rates improved substantially over prior methodologies used for the PPM, and additional tests are under way to assure that those initial success levels can be maintained, according to officials.

Arbitron and Nielsen have been working together to come up with new techniques to increase the number of consumers who agree to take part in PPM surveys and then carry the meters on a continuing basis.

"Initial results are in line with what Nielsen would expect when recruiting a new set-top meter panel, which is what we both wanted to achieve," Arbitron president Steve Morris said in a prepared statement.

Arbitron and Nielsen are exploring the feasibility of using the PPM as a data-collection tool for TV-audience measurement, with both companies first unveiling their plan to jointly test the PPM in Philadelphia back in June 2000.

For the Philadelphia test, Nielsen and Arbitron have recruited two different panels using two different methodologies.

The first method mirrored Nielsen’s current approach to recruiting consumers for its local TB-meter services. But the second method combined phone-based recruitment and membership representatives. It also employed enhanced recruitment materials, increased incentives and co-branded materials using both the Nielsen and Arbitron names.