Arbitron said Thursday (July 16) it was the first research company to compile population estimates for cell phone-only households down to the market level. Prior to Arbitron's estimates, the only available source of cell phone-only estimates was available at the state level from the National Health Interview Survey.
The radio research firm, which based its calculations on mail surveys in 151 diary markets, found CPO penetration varied widely by market from as low as 5 percent in Hamptons-Riverhead, N.Y., to as high as 38 percent in Bryan-College Station, Texas.
As more and more consumers cut the cord on their telephone landline for cell phones, they've created a new challenge for audience researchers who need to base ratings on representative samples that include CPO households. Arbitron began CPO sampling in diary markets for its Spring 2009 survey with a sample target of 10 percent. So far, there are no plans to change that target, even with the new market-level CPO estimates.
"As we evaluate the additional diary markets for Fall 2009, we will be better able to make decisions about CPO households going forward," said an Arbitron spokesperson.