How 70 Meter Target Rating Points Can Equal 100 Diary Rating Points.
The piece explained things this way:
Different measurement methodologies can and do produce different results. We upgraded our measurement methodology, and the scale has changed accordingly. For example, each of the following describes the same quantity:
62 miles per hour = 100 kilometers per hour
32 degrees Fahrenheit = 0 degrees Celsius
In the case of radio, the same sized audience may be described with a 1.0 rating using the diary scale and a 0.7 rating using the PPM scale. Therefore you may see that 100 dairy TRPs = 70 PPM TRPs.
The analogy used here is, of course, entirely bogus. The metric conversion illustrations are not the same as announcing that 100 suddenly becomes 70. Arbitron hasn’t changed the unit of measurement–they’ve changed the measurement.
The original svelte five page brochure has since ballooned to 54 pages, and is growing with each new PPM market. You can download the latest PDF edition here.
Arbitron has created a separate chart for each market. Los Angeles is shown to the left. (Click for a larger image.) The charts show Arbitron’s new math isn’t as straightforward as the headline. As it turns out, 100 now equals anything from 39 to 165! Kind of like a rubber yardstick that varies by length depending on what you measure.
This new math was not created by some complicated computer algorithm or sophisticated computer model. It was created by looking at the top 20 stations in each market and dividing their three months of PPM AQH numbers by the corresponding Diary AQH numbers.
Because PPM typically shows lower listening levels than the diaries, the resulting numbers are typically less than one, and as low as one-third. In other words, in some demos and dayparts, the top 20 stations have only one-third the AQH in PPM as they did in the diaries. However, on rare occasions, PPM turns out to be higher.
Take a look at the conversion for women 18-34 morning drive. It is 0.39. That means that PPM AQH is only one-third of diary AQH for this demo and daypart. In contrast, look at teens during middays. The conversion is 1.65, which means PPM teen listening is 65% higher than diary listening.
Arbitron’s PPM new math means that rating points vary from market to market and between dayparts and demos. To return to Arbitron’s analogy, it is like a national speed limit of 55 mph, but where 55 mph in Los Angeles is a different speed than in Atlanta. Not only that, your speed depends on your age and time of day you drive!
With diaries, a rating point was a rating point in any market. Now, Arbitron wants media buyers to go to a market specific table, look up a demo and daypart, and then multiply their target by a number that might vary from 0.39 to 1.65 to determine what the buy should be.
We would like to hear from National Sales Managers who are using the Arbitron charts. What is the reception among buyers? Are they using the charts to reset targets?