As we all know, Nielsen is preparing to begin radio measurement in 50 small markets. One of Nielsen's pitches is that it will incorporate "single-source" sampling features, in which participants would provide usage of products and services, as well as other media. This means that these markets will have information that large market stations pay extra for (if the information is available at all). Nielsen is already active in Internet measurement and television rating subscribers now have access to Internet usage by the television rating panelists, so we can expect even more cross-platform measurement if Nielsen moves into larger radio markets.
As reported here, Harker Research recently interviewed media buyers regarding Nielsen's reputation with media buyers. We found that Nielsen has a better reputation and produces more credible ratings than Arbitron. As part of the survey, we asked media buyers how important cross-platform ratings were. As you can see from the graph, media buyers place a great deal of importance on measuring media usage across platforms.
While Arbitron has touted PPM as a means to measure any audio based medium, there has been very little said by the company about actually measuring any medium other than radio (except in special commissioned projects). Given the importance of cross-platform measurement, let's hope that both Arbitron and Nielsen develop programs to enable media buyers to see radio listenership in the context of a broad range of media consumption.