Radio has not done enough to make sure PPM meters properly register station listening. That was the message of Cornelius Gould speaking to a packed meeting room at the NAB’s Sunday Radio Technology Forum.
The Telos Alliance Omnia Team Leader shared test results illustrating how gaps in PPM station encoding levels can potentially cost stations quarter-hours of listening.
One potential problem is programming material with weak mid-range content. Gould singled out older Hip-Hop played by Urban ACs as an example. High ambient interference such as highway noise can also have a negative impact on PPM decoding. Improper processing is a third source of lost quarter-hours.
The charts at the left shown during the talk illustrate the problem. The charts show encoding strength as a time line. Green bars indicate the strongest encoding, red bars indicate the weakest encoding. (Sorry for the poor quality. This is a shot taken of the projector screen.)
The upper timeline is without PPM watermark processing. The lower timeline shows encoding strength after running the audio through a Voltair processor.
The Voltair was able to boost the lowest encoding levels, potentially filling in decoding gaps and adding quarter-hour credits for the station.
Gould began his talk by reading a statement by Nielsen expressing guarded interest in learning more about what Voltair does.
We’re pleased to see that The Telos Alliance has developed a processor to fix flaws in Nielsen’s PPM encoders. We're also pleased that Nielsen is curious about the technology.The presentation makes it clear that PPM encoders need a serious upgrade.
The presentation was very persuasive for this viewer (and many others in the room if the enthusiastic applause given Gould is any indication).
PPM is not capturing all formats equally well. It is challenged by high ambient noise. Radio stations are losing quarter-hours and rating points through no fault of their own. And it is potentially costing radio a lot of money.
We’ll have more to add after a second Voltair presentation later in the week.