Skip to main content

Portable People Meter pushes ratings

In the first results reported from Arbitron's ongoing field trial, the Portable People Meter is reporting higher total-day average ratings for television and cable and equivalent audiences for radio.

In the Wilmington, Del. metro area, comparisons to May sweeps numbers showed the Portable People Meter recording an 11.9 average rating for broadcast TV in all dayparts, against a 10.9 reported by Nielsen Media Research. PPM reported a 2.1 average cable rating, versus a 1.0 reported by Nielsen. Arbitron's radio diary system produced a 9.0 rating, against a 9.1 from its PPM system.

The Portable People Meter has been in a market trial in the Philadelphia area since December of 2000. The PPM is a pager-sized device that is carried by consumers. It detects inaudible codes that broadcasters and cable networks embed in their audio signals.
- Richard Tedesco

"Based on these first ratings results as well as the meter system performance, and the participation of consumers, we are moving forward with the next phase of the U.S. market trial," said Marshall Snyder, president, Worldwide PPM Development, Arbitron Inc. "We will be talking with our customers and Nielsen Media Research about our schedule going forward.
"The ratings results are logical when you consider the audience measurement capabilities designed into the PPM," continued Snyder. "It is the first electronic measurement device that automatically collects a person's exposure to encoded radio, TV and cable programming no matter when and where it occurs. The PPM eliminates the need for people to constantly track their listening or viewing behavior by writing something down in a diary.
"We are encouraged by these first comparisons because we've also seen that the encoding system works as designed - broadcasters and cable networks can and do encode their audio on a continuing basis and the meters readily detect the inaudible codes," said Snyder. "We have also been able to recruit and maintain a panel of consumers who are representative of the market we are measuring and who, on average, carry their meters for more than 15 hours a day."
. At the end of each day, the participants place the meters into base stations that recharge the device and send the collected codes to Arbitron for tabulation.