Univision Refuses to Encode Signals in New PPM Areas


What will happen to the Miami radio market when as much as 20 percent of the audience simply disappears from the ratings?

That’s the scenario advertisers face July 16 when Arbitron publishes its first portable people meter ratings in Miami, San Diego, and Phoenix, three top Hispanic markets where Univision Communications has not subscribed to the service and has refused to encode its signals.

For Arbitron, which purports to measure all media outlets in a market, Univision’s action represents nothing short of a currency crisis. And it will leave buyers and planners without a complete picture of radio listening in those markets. In order for the PPM to measure a radio station’s audience, the station must be encoded, leaving Arbitron dependent on the kindness of its customers.

“This isn’t good for the currency,” said Lauren Russo, vp and managing director of local radio, Horizon Media.

In April, Arbitron’s agency advisory council urged all broadcasters to encode. Univision, which for a year has criticized the PPM, declined to cooperate. “We had to take a stand and do what we believe in. It’s impacting our revenue as well as Arbitron’s,” said Ceril Shagrin, executive vp, corporate research for Univision, which has seen ratings slide in PPM in markets such as New York and Los Angeles (see Market Profile, page AM 12 ).

The Spanish-language giant is also refusing to use PPM ratings anywhere except Houston, one of only two PPM markets that has Media Rating Council accreditation.

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