It was to be radio’s Hulk Hogan versus The Rock, a shoot-out at OK corral. Dueling presentations: Voltair versus Nielsen’s PPM.
There were high expectations that sparks would fly maybe punches thrown as 25-Seven’s Geoff Steadman made the case for Voltair while Nielsen’s Matt O’Grady and Arun Ramaswamy defended PPM.
With so much anticipation and the future of radio measurement in the balance you’d think that the NAB would provide the best possible venue to host these two important events.
The NAB chose the “Innovation Stage” for both presentations. It is a clever name for what appeared to be unsold booth space in the noisy cramped exhibit area.
It was an environment more appropriate for a Vegomatic demonstration than for two presentations that could impact the way an entire industry is measured.
Did I mention that the NAB decided to lay out a buffet lunch in the area surrounding the Innovation Stage?
Don’t believe it? Look closely at the top picture!
So with a backdrop of sliced roast beef under heat lamps and the sound of popping soft-drinks the face-off began.
But a funny thing happened.
Instead of a smack-down, we witnessed a pair of carefully choreographed ballets with neither dancer directly addressing the other.
Steadman defended Voltair as a useful tool that broadcasters could use to help make sure that their radio stations got full listening credit (from you-know-who).
And Nielsen’s O’Grady, et. al. formally rolled out PPM encoding “enhancements.”
Their even tone and measured words made it seem that these “enhancements” were long planned developments to address some sort of well understood issue that might possibly negatively impact the ratings of a very small handful of outlier stations.
Listening to the Nielsen presentation you’d think no one there had ever heard of Voltair.
So who won? It's too early to tell.
Think of this as only the first round. On points, the first round goes to Nielsen, but there will be many more rounds of what will be an epic battle--not for the two opponents, but for radio.
Nielsen is to be commended for taking the opportunity to share with all broadcasters information that the company had previously shared with only a limited number of clients and friends of the company.
The presentation included a great deal of important information including results of the Baltimore/Washington enhancement test.
It hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves so we’ll be reviewing the test in the next post.