The presentation was an artful display of rhetorical gymnastics.
In his opening remarks Matt O’Grady managed to invoke the word “currency” four times in the span of two sentences, seven times in the span of five sentences.
Do you think Mr. O’Grady was trying to make a point?
Here’s what he said:
As a currency provider it is our obligation to provide fair, unbiased, and accurate measurement. On the flip side, we also expect the industry to respect the currency, play by the rules, and ensure that all benefits from the use of a common currency.
(That last line probably read a little differently in the script from which he read, but that’s what he said.)
The word “currency” is an interesting word to use in regard to audience estimates subject to error.
Why is PPM a currency, let alone the currency?
The term was first used to sell PPM to radio. Arbitron needed to convince radio that PPM was worth a lot more than diary-based estimates, so the company touted PPM as the new ratings currency.
It worked back then so why not use it again.
Linking PPM to “currency” enabled Mr. O’Grady to imply that all this talk about inadequate encoding, missed listening, and Voltair was debasing the currency.
Voltair is to PPM what Hugo Chavez was to the Venezuelan peso, perhaps.
He was cleverly implying that stations that use Voltair create doubts about the value of Nielsen’s the currency, and we don’t want that.
Mr. O’Grady employed a common rhetorical trick, invoking authority to essentially say, “we know what’s best for PPM and radio.”
It was a moment straight out of South Park: “You will respect my authority!”
That set up the next statement:
Nielsen stands by the quality of service that we provide and it’s also our responsibility as I said earlier to continue to provide ongoing and continuous enhancements to meet the changing needs of the marketplace.
So the message is that Nielsen is the authority, the expert, the only one to determine if, how, and when PPM problems should be fixed.
Any interference in this process is disruptive and potentially damaging.
The problem is that when Jennifer Hutson took her turn at the mic the biggest improvement that she could cite was the meter's longer battery life!
Apple fixed the iPhone battery life problem in a single year and it took Arbitron/Nielsen eight years?
Nielsen isn’t Apple. It’s more like Ma Bell before the 1984 break-up.
Come to think about it, PPM is from the 1980s.
More comments to follow.