Hi! Thanks for the question.
Let us answer your question first about competitors. In our first
article, it mentions that GFK/Telecontrol Mediawatch and Eurisko NOP
World Media Monitor are the direct competitors of Arbitron?s Portable
?The testing, the first of its kind in the world, will see Rajar put
the Arbitron Portable People Meter, the Eurisko NOP World Media
Monitor and the GfK/Telecontrol MediaWatch through their paces as it
looks to see which offers the best replacement for its antiquated
?Rajar takes another step on road towards digital testing?
However; unlike Arbitron the websites of both companies do not
showcase the actual gadget. Anyway here are the links to Eurisko and
Another possible competitor is IQStat but this time the gadget is for cars.
?Like Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM), the IQStat system uses
technology to track previously un-trackable media exposure. IQStat
says it's focused on measuring consumer behavior and ad exposure. It
considers its data to be complementary to what Arbitron provides,
although IQStat will also provide ratings.?
?Start-Up Wires Cars for Ad Measurement? by Pamela Parker
IQStat Official Website
Our next links meanwhile will be news articles I found for the
Portable People Meter. I will present them according to their
publication date so you can view the development of media coverage for
the PPM through time. I will also provide highlights and any
interesting excerpts from the articles.
?In June Arbitron and Nielsen committed to a history-making deal,
agreeing to cooperate on the testing of a new electronic technology
which may someday replace the diaries now used to measure TV viewing
and radio listening in local markets.?
?Arbitron has been working on its PPM technology for almost nine
years, perfecting and miniaturizing the passive measurement device
that uses hidden audio codes to identify the program sources.?
?Nielsen forced Arbitron out of the TV ratings business in 1993 after
a bruising battle where deep pockets won out over big ambition. In the
late 1980s, Arbitron developed and implemented a national people meter
panel to take on NTI (Nielsen Television Index). Nielsen aggressively
counterattacked by expanding their spot TV ratings service (NSI),
relying on a surplus of household meters and the deep pockets provided
by the network TV business. Arbitron attracted endorsements, but only
one major network supporter and eventually pulled the plug on its
national ambitions and its local service too.?
?Arbitron's Portable People Meter? by Dave Zornow (September)
?The Arbitron Company, a media and marketing research firm that
provides ratings information for radio stations throughout the U.S.,
is recruiting people in the Philadelphia area to take part in a trial
of a revolutionary new method for monitoring media exposure. Arbitron
will outfit each willing participant with its new Portable People
Meter (PPM), a pager-sized device that hears broadcast signals that
the wearer hears, and notes the date, time and duration of each
exposure. The PPM even has a motion sensor, to record how much it?s
?Sound a little spooky? It gets better. The PPM works by detecting an
inaudible code that can be embedded in any broadcast signal.
Fifty-four radio and television stations in the Philadelphia market
are already including such codes in their broadcasts, or are capable
of doing so, and Arbitron hopes to have more than 70 signed up by the
time the test is under way. Someone you know might be wearing a PPM
?It Knows What You Watched Last Tuesday? by Frank Lewis (January)
?Arbitron reports that initial findings from a test group of 300
Wilmingtonians show that the device is being accepted and used
properly by test subjects.?
?Over 80 percent of the test subjects were found to be properly using
the device, which involves taking the PPM from a carriage unit in the
morning, wearing it all day, and replacing it at night, at which point
the PPM uploads its data to Arbitron.?
?Portable People Meter does well in early tests? By Gabriel Spitzer (April 21)
?PPM numbers suggest that cume is up significantly for radio. PPM
showed an average daily cumulative audience of 75.9% vs. 66.0% from
the diary. The PPM is picking up increased listening occasions, as
well as the number of stations PPM carriers, your listeners, are tuned
?Implication: The great thing is that it positively impacts all radio
stations, almost regardless of format. As an industry we?ve got to be
happy. As programmers it means we?re now measuring all listening
occasions to our station regardless of how much time listeners spend
?The People Meter and Programming? by David Rogerson and Mike McVay
?A major concern revolves around data that show people listen to twice
as many radio stations as previously thought and that stations, on
average, have 10 times the number of least-frequent listeners with the
PPM as they did with the diary.?
" Questions over Portable People Meter? by Kevin Downey (Aug. 6)
?Yet Patchen concedes Arbitron has ?some detective work? to figure out
why morning drive numbers for radio are lower in PPM ratings compared
to diaries. Patchen admits its Philadelphia tests have left them with
more questions than answers on the most critical daypart for radio.?
?One unresolved issue has the making of a major stumbling block
between the different constituencies that Arbitron serves. Advertisers
are likely to push for movement beyond its current quarter hour
ratings to a methodology that provides something near to
?Arbitron's PPM Plagued By Unanswered Questions? (Oct. 10)
?This is an international roll out ? Already countries such as Canada,
France and Belgium have joined the growing number of countries
committed to PPM measurement or assessment in some form.?
?Measurement can be continuous 365 days a year, 24 hours a day ? no
rest for the wicked. Implication ? you?ll be on your toes 52 weeks a
year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.?
?PPM?s are carried by people who are part of a panel ? this is much
the same way TV set top meter respondents are recruited ? unlike the
diary which is a new sample each week.?
?Programming in a PPM World ? 12 months On? by David Rogerson and Mike McVay
?Arbitron announced that Médiamétrie, the French provider of TV,
radio, Internet and cinema audience measurement, has signed a license
agreement that will enable the independent media measurement company
to evaluate Arbitron?s Portable People Meter system in Paris.?
?The two-year agreement will enable Médiamétrie to evaluate the PPM
encoding system and the willingness of Parisians to keep the
pager-sized PPM device with them as they go about their daily
?Arbitron and Médiamétrie to carry out market trials of new audience
measurement system? (April 26)
?Arbitron Inc. (NYSE: ARB) and Nielsen Media Research today announced
that preliminary tests of methods to improve consumer response rates
in the Portable People Meter system were positive. In a key research
test of two sampling and recruitment techniques, response rates among
panelists increased significantly over those for prior sampling and
recruitment methodologies used for the PPM. Additional tests are
underway in order to assure that these initial success levels can be
?Arbitron and Nielsen Report Progress in Portable People Meter -PPM-
Response Rate Testing? (Oct. 21)
?The Portable People Meter is a big hit with media companies, because
it doesn't require the wearer to do any work, and it keeps them
honest. Before the PPM entered the scene, the companies that ran
monitoring services gave notebooks to volunteers to write down the
shows they watched. But people are forgetful and they're lazy, so
notebook data is a little iffy. Worse, people fib. They'll watch
Bikini Insanity on cable, and write Meet the Press in their notebook.?
?The Portable People Meter has a lot going for it. So much, that
Arbitron is adding GPS capability to the device so it can tell where
its wearer is consuming media. That's key, because the Portable People
Meter is all about monitoring people, not TVs or radios.?
?The Portable People Meter? By Mark Frauenfelder (Mar. 26)
?Following Cox Radio's lead, Radio One has told Arbitron that it will
decline to participate in Arbitron?s second proposed test of the
portable people meter in Houston.?
??Without Cox, the research would not be valid. Flawed research does
more harm than good,? said Mary Catherine Sneed, COO of Radio One.?
?Radio One Will Not Participate in Arbitron Test? by Katy Bachman (Mar. 29)
?In PPM tests, television viewership was reported to be as much as 80
percent more than what was recorded through the traditional means. The
argument for PPM's is that these higher numbers are a more accurate
reflection of the audience. Keep in mind though that PPM's don't cause
more people to tune in. The "real audience" levels (the actual number
of people tuned in) are the same - they'll just have a higher number
associated with it.?
?Arbitron's PPM's? By Devin Johnson (May 20)
?For the past few years, about 1,500 people in the Philadelphia area
have worn small electronic devices that keep track of every bit of
radio programming they might hear in the car, at the office, as they
walk to lunch, when they drop by a friend's house or when they hit
happy hour after work.?
?The gadget, the Portable People Meter, contains motion detectors to
make certain that someone is really wearing the device, and
extra-sensitive microphones that pick up codes hidden in each
?The Portable People Meter Knows All? by Marc Fisher (June 20)
?Arbitron (NYSE:ARB) and Nielsen Media Research announced today that
the two companies have devised and tested new approaches that yield
sample performance indicators (SPI) that are in line with what Nielsen
would expect when recruiting and maintaining a set-top meter panel.
These measures are substantially higher than those achieved by
Arbitron in the first U.S. Market Trial of the PPM in Philadelphia in
?The new methods were different from the 2002 methodology in that
they: utilized membership representatives for at least some of the
recruitment and on-going maintenance of the panel; increased the
financial incentives given to panelists; and included a number of
other methodological improvements.?
?ARBITRON AND NIELSEN IMPROVE PORTABLE PEOPLE METER (PPM) RESPONSE RATES? (July 12)
?Arbitron's portable people meter technology passed its first
important commercial milestone, except it's in Canada. not the U.S.?
?BBM Canada, the Canadian industry consortium for audience ratings,
Wednesday said it had adopted the PPM as the official TV ratings
system for French-language TV in Quebec and Montreal. By the end of
the year, the BBM will phase out push-button people meters in those
?Arbitron's PPM Passes Milestone in Canada? by Katy Bachman (July 22)
?Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble, market research group VNU
and radio ratings service Arbitron Inc. on Wednesday announced a deal
to explore developing a research service to study how consumers react
?The service would study how exposing consumers to advertising on
multiple media affects their shopping and purchasing behavior.
Arbitron and VNU said the service would be separate and distinct from
any rating services already provided for TV and radio.?
?Arbitron, VNU, Procter Form Market Research Pact? (Sept. 24)
?Now that Arbitron and Nielsen Media Research have successfully
completed a final round of testing the portable people meter in
Philadelphia, Arbitron is forging ahead with its second test market:
?By second quarter 2005, Arbitron expects to produce initial ratings
for TV, radio and cable nets in the market based on a sample of 2,100
consumers. It will continue through winter 2006 to give the industry a
year of data to pore over. If the demonstration is successful and wins
marketplace support, Arbitron anticipates Houston could be the first
PPM market in 2006, six years after it began testing the service.?
?Arbitron Readies Texas PPM? by Katy Bachman (Sept. 27)
?Meanwhile, the PPM's Houston test, the second major U.S. field trial
of the PPM system, has been plagued by uncertainty, with several top
radio broadcasters threatening to boycott it by not allowing their
programming to be coded for the PPM meters. The radio industry has
been especially concerned by the economic impact PPMs could have on
the radio marketplace??
?Nielsen, Arbitron Reveal Aggressive PPM Rollout Plan, Would Cover 50 Markets
by Joe Mandese (Sept. 29)
No Specified Date
Our next link provides an interesting discussion and also a link at
the end to the advantages and disadvantages of PPMs.
?Future of Audience Measurement?
?The battery in the PPM is good for 27 hours and the unit will hold a
week's worth of data.?
?To recruit the PPM panel, Arbitron starts the same way they do to
recruit diary holders; with a random sample of telephone numbers.
Panel sampling is two-phased; Arbitron conducts a telephone
enumeration study to discover household characteristics including
county, household size, presence of children, employment status, race
or ethnic background, language preference, number of television sets
and the presence of cable or satellite TV in the household.?
?EXCLUSIVE UPDATE REPORT FROM HARRY VALENTINE, EVP?
?The ratings are so crucial to advertising success that, typically, a
station spends 1% of its total ad revenue on market research,
according to Thom Mocarsky, Arbitron's communications vice president.
The cost per station depends on the market, he said, but is usually a
"five- to six-figure investment" for the Arbitron ratings.?
"?Arbitron wields a lot of power,? said Larry Patrick of Patrick
Communications, a major broker for TV and radio stations based in
Columbia. But "Arbitron has an unenviable business to be in. You're
almost constantly being criticized" by radio stations that find their
market position has slipped or question the sampling technique. A
point difference in a rating can mean a $10 million difference in ad
revenues for a major station.?
?Arbitron Meter Aims To Transform Broadcast Ratings? by Len Lazarick
?There is, of course, compensation awarded to cooperative PPM
participants. When the system detects motion (i.e. when it's being
carried) a green light comes on. At the end of the day, "green light
time" is recorded and converted to "points." These are used to
determine the "incentives" paid to respondents.?
?What separates the device from earlier models is its portability. No
matter where the PPM subject watches T.V. or listens to the radio
(think showers here), and no matter where or when he or she uses the
Internet, the Portable People Meter can ?capture and report media
?Green Light Time: The "Sheer Fun Factor" of an Electronic Leash? by John Nelson
Search terms used:
Arbitron ppm ?portable people meter? interesting issues privacy
GFK, Eurisko, IQStat
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