Arbitron Replaces Houston Meters

Arbitron Inc. is replacing all of the meters for its upcoming Houston test of "Portable People Meters" after a few turned up with a bad connection between the microphones and the PPM circuits.

The meters, which users will take alone with them wherever they go during the day, measure passive media exposure.

Arbitron plans to have a full target sample of 2,100 people equipped with the meters by June 30 and will collect data for July.

So far 90% of the radio, TV and cable outlets in the market are encoding their broadcasts for the test, says the company, and Arbitron is working on the 10% who have yet to sign on.

Arbitron says that by September, it should have a comparison of July PPM TV data and NSI meter/diary numbers.

Arbitron has said it would not launch the meters until it has secured the Accreditation of the client-backed watchdog group, the Media Ratings Council, which is monitoring the Houston test.

Nielsen is helping foot the bill for the test, but has yet to decide whether to team with Arbitron on a wider roll-out of the meters.

Unlike diaries, which viewers have to fill out, or local people meters, which viewers have to log in to, the PPM's automatically register radio and TV signals within a given range of the subject.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.