Arbitron will introduce cell-phone-only sampling in 50 diary markets six months earlier than previously planned, beginning with the spring 2009 survey. The research firm also intends to expand cell-phone-only sampling to a total of 125 diary markets with the fall 2009 survey.
The list of specific diary markets that will be included in the expansion has not been finalized yet.
Arbitron's portable people meter panels already include cell-phone-only households.
In addition, starting with the fall 2008 survey, Arbitron will establish a benchmark for persons aged 18-54 in all diary markets equal to a Designated Delivery Index of 80. The new benchmark will be based on the same metric the company utilizes to assess its portable people meter sample quality performance.
The decision to accelerate the introduction of cell-phone-only sampling in diary markets and to introduce a sample quality benchmark for 18-54 year-olds was prompted by the Radio Advisory Council and the Diary Market Owner Operator Caucus, organizations they have been working with closely since last year.
"We believe the cell-phone-only sampling will help improve sample quality for young adults in diary markets and we are pleased to be able to start sooner than we originally anticipated,