During Nielsen’s PPM presentation at the Radio Show Nielsen’s managing director of local media Matt O’Grady made one comment that caught our attention. He declared, “We own PPM.”
Why would he need to remind broadcasters Nielsen owns PPM?
It was reminiscent of a comment that then Arbitron CEO Steve Morris made to the Arbitron Advisory Council during a contentious meeting over the roll-out of PPM.
I’m not going to let a bunch of radio people tell me how to run my company.
The Advisory Council was concerned about how PPM was going to be implemented but Morris was determined to impose PPM on radio his way regardless of what the council thought.
And he did.
Perhaps for a moment O’Grady was channeling Steve Morris.
As we write this no independent organization or group has signed off on enhanced encoding.
The Media Rating Council has not made a public statement. The Nielsen Audio Advisory Council has been silent. The NAB’s Committee on Local Radio Audience Measurement (COLRAM) is MIA.
No large radio group has endorsed the enhanced encoding.
Why is there only industry silence regarding Nielsen’s plans?
Is it because no one outside of Nielsen has any idea what the “enhancements” are or how they work?
All we have are assurances from Nielsen that the new and improved encoding works great and is much better than the “legacy” encoding.
How do we square these assurances against previous assurances?
As recently as Nielsen’s July webinar where the company’s chief engineer asserted that Voltair enabled stations to receive credit for unintelligible listening we were assured that the PPM ecosystem was fair, accurate, and unbiased.
In the context of these recent and past assurances, O’Grady’s reminder that,“we own PPM,” takes on a more ominous meaning.
It has been eight years since PPM rolled out and prior to Voltair there had not been a single upgrade to the encoder.
Why the sudden urgency to upgrade every station in a month’s time?
Radio waited eight years for an encoder upgrade, but now Nielsen insists that all stations must be upgraded by the end of November.
It took them four years to develop the eDiary–and then they killed it!
Can we really believe that in the past couple of months Nielsen dissected Voltair to figure out why it worked, developed a firmware update to emulate it, lab tested the new firmware, and completed a thorough field test?
A day does not pass without some major software/firmware upgrade failure making the news.
The stock exchanges, every major airline, AOL along with every other web business, and virtually all hardware/software dependent businesses have been disrupted when “well-tested” upgrades fail.
How often has even Apple needed to patch an iOS update?
Why should radio stations believe that Nielsen’s patch is going to work any better?
If Nielsen is correct and the legacy encoder works well for the majority of stations, why not give stations the option to wait on the upgrade?
Yes Mr. O’Grady, Nielsen does own PPM, but you should understand that without the cooperation of radio stations Nielsen wouldn't have a business.
We believe that the radio stations that allow Nielsen to encode their programming should be told more about changes to the encoder. Nielsen should come clean about why encoding had to be enhanced--and why so quickly?
Radio stations should be the ones to decide how encoding is implemented and when to upgrade.