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May 17, 2013

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Jon Miller

Richard and Glenda, I'd like to respond to some of the questions and assumptions rasied in your column. And also point out this is the SECOND time I have posted this comment after you took down the first one.

First the article may lead readers to believe that PPM audience estimates are based on panelists who comply based ONLY on 8 hours of motion. The 8-hour requirement is actually the MINIMUM amount of motion per day in order to be counted in the ratings, and in reality, the average amount of motion time is far higher...it's more like 15 hours per day during the work week in the latest ratings book.

Also, the PPM is capturing exposure all the time even when it’s not in motion (e.g.
listening to a radio in the bedroom in the morning). And since our panelists are carrying their meter for an average of 15 hours a day, the vast majority of listening is being credited while the meter is moving.

Further, the specific motion requirement is NEVER communicated to our panelists. They are simply told that in order to be counted in the ratings and earn bonus rewards, they need to keep their meter with them throughout their waking day. Unlike the example cited of the Fitbit experience, our panel relations specialists stay in touch with participants throughout their time in the panel to remind them to carry the meter and help assure compliance.

In the mornings, the median undock time is around 7:30am on weekdays and 8:45am on the weekends. We've spent a lot of time looking at the morning drive ratings differences between the diary and PPM, and believe strongly that PPM compliance is not the reason for the differences. If you look at the total market cume during each hour of the morning, you’ll find that in the early-morning hours, PPM captures more audience than the diary up until around 6am. If the meter was somehow “missing” significant amounts of listening in the mornings, it would stand to reason that the audience sizes would be smaller across the board during all hours of the morning. That’s not the case.

I believe the differences between PPM and diary are due to a passive approach that measures exposure to audio rather than recall. The diary is more likely to reflect a respondent’s recall of what they usually do rather than passive capture of their exposure to radio. For example, a diary keeper may typically listen
starting at 7:30am in the morning and record that routine in their diary even
if they woke up late at 8am on a particular day.

Every measurement method has limitations including PPM. However, I don’t believe the evidence supports the conclusion that compliance and carry times account for the differences in estimates between the diary and PPM.


Jon Miller
Director of Programming Services
Arbitron Inc.
[email protected]

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