Nielsen Takes Closer Look at ‘PPM’

Nielsen Media Research has expanded its internal due-diligence team to evaluate whether the company should proceed with its joint venture with Arbitron Inc. to develop “Portable People Meters” for TV-audience measurement, officials said Monday.

The team -- which has been collaborating with Arbitron for several years -- has been enlarged to include additional experts in engineering, methodological research, statistical research, operations and reporting.

Under the watch of Jack Oken, Nielsen’s general manager of local business, the special team is continuing to access the feasibility of PPMs based on the technical, research, operational and cost implications of adopting the new technology.

During this process, Catherine Herkovic, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Nielsen’s local business unit, will serve as interim GM of local business.

By increasing the size of its team, Nielsen is seeking to more effectively analyze the test data now being produced in the Houston market. Arbitron’s plan is for Nielsen to decide by the first quarter of next year whether to continue with the PPM project.

“Over the past several years, the PPM project has been one of our highest priorities,” Nielsen president Susan Whiting said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to moving with all deliberate speed while ensuring that this important decision is based on careful analysis and extensive research.”