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Arbitron Will Run PPM Test

Arbitron Inc. Portable People Meter president Pierre Bouvard told clients this week that Nielsen Media Research would not be participating in the operational side of its Houston test of PPMs.

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.

"Given the progress of the Houston PPM market trial, by the time Nielsen would make its decision, the Houston demonstration market will be up, running and producing audience estimates," said Bouvard. "So, instead of spending time determining how Nielsen might fit into to an already functioning Arbitron organization in Houston, we would rather we spend our time with Nielsen focused on those issues that hold the most promise for bringing the PPM to the marketplace."

Those include, "the more detailed examination of the audio detection capabilities of the Portable People Meter and the examination of the research, business and financial issues that a potential joint venture must resolve in order to deploy the PPM as a local market ratings service for radio and television. "

Nielsen spokesman Jack Loftus agreed that those issues were Nielsen’s focus and said that Bouvard’s announcement represented no change in status.

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.