In September 2007 we published this article...
When Media Audit/Ipsos announced the development of their Smart Phone device to measure radio listening, Arbitron dismissed their announcement derisively declaring that, "If all you’ve got is a gizmo, you’ve got a long way to go." The line became the title of an article on the Arbitron website by David Lapovsky who writes, "Its not the electronics of a metering device alone, but the whole system that surrounds the metering device that determines the usefulness of the audience estimates it collects."
Mr Lapovsky’s words certainly resonated with the broadcasters of Houston when it was discovered that some two hundred in-tab panelists disappeared one week. An email from Arbitron declared:
Here’s what happened: a file used to process Unified Weekly Cume Estimates was incompletely loaded into our production system, resulting in the exposure records of approximately 200 In-Tab panelists being excluded. As a result, the Unified Weekly In-Tab appeared to be abnormally low and the error affected the calculation of Weekly Cume estimates.
There has been no further word from Arbitron on how the data from so many panelists could disappear, why the error wasn't caught before the release, or what steps have been taken to see that this doesn’t happen in the future. Next month New York, Arbitron’s largest market, begins PPM measurement. Let’s hope that Mr. Lapovsky’s article becomes required reading for everyone associated with producing that first New York report.