Collaboration Between AHAA, the PPM Coalition and Arbitron on New PPM Initiatives Results in Changes

McLEAN, VA — For more than two years, AHAA has been engaged in discussions with Arbitron, Inc. about improvements to its Portable People Meter (PPM) methodology.  The organization’s significant investment of time and resources both directly and as part of the PPM Coalition paid off when the Coalition and Arbitron reached an agreement that will benefit the entire radio and advertising industry.  AHAA fully supports the terms of the agreement which call for continuous improvement of the radio ratings service and we will work in partnership with Arbitron, the Media Rating the Media Rating Council and the industry to advance improvements to PPM methodology.

AHAA voiced concerns at its semi-annual meeting in April 2008 in San Antonio, during which agency leaders and media buying professionals expressed frustration over the ratings for Hispanic radio listeners that had been reported in PPM surveys.  While Spanish-language broadcasters had the most to lose financially due to dramatic drops in ratings and rankings, the Hispanic-specialized agencies had a responsibility to the industry, to the advertisers, and a social responsibility to Hispanic consumers to ensure accurate audience representation.  Past AHAA Chair José López Varela created a task force to unify the industry and address agency concerns directly with Arbitron.  The task force then became part of the much broader PPM Coalition.

“It was imperative that we communicate to Arbitron the cultural nuances critical to accurate measurement of the Hispanic listening audience,” says Gisela Girard, AHAA chairman and COO of Creative Civilization.  “AHAA agencies are stewards of our clients’ money; entrusted with delivering their messages to consumers and allocating their dollars in the right place at the right time to communicate effectively with their Hispanic target audience.  Without accurate ratings tools in place our ability to deliver was impaired.”

AHAA board members and other industry leaders spent time and money from their own organizations traveling to meet with Arbitron representatives, legislators including testimony before a Congressional committee, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioners.  They participated in an FCC roundtable; filed comments in response to FCC inquiries; and participated in Coalition efforts and conference calls to advance the resolution of PPM.

“We could not be happier about the resulting collaboration between Arbitron and our industry,” said Jessica Pantanini, AHAA chair-elect and COO of Bromley Communications.  Pantanini represented AHAA publicly on the PPM issue.  “We raised concerns, united the industry to ensure that our concerns were vocalized, and continued to push for discussion until a resolution was reached.  It was the right thing for AHAA to do.  We believe Arbitron listened to the issues and is earnest in its desire to achieve accreditation from the Media Ratings Council (MRC).  The collaborative agreement is the result of AHAA’s commitment and the commitment of the other Coalition members to address the needs of minority communities and ensure quality data and audience representation for our clients.  We appreciate Arbitron’s pledge to the continuous improvement of PPM ratings.”

AHAA will continue to monitor the PPM enhancements and will remain involved with the PPM Coalition as the recruitment initiatives and methodology improvements are implemented.