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Updated: Arbitron to Change Recruitment Method

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Under fire from ethnic broadcasters, Arbitron proposed a plan to change its recruitment methodology used for its portable people meter service, the company revealed Monday (March 1) in its recent 10K. Beginning July 2010, Arbitron is prepared to introduce in-person recruiting, in addition to its standard telephone approach, in high-density African-American and Hispanic areas in the top 25 PPM markets.

In addition, the company said would roll out full address-based sampling in all PPM markets by the end of 2011. Both approached are similar to the methodology used in Houston, which was the first PPM market to receive MRC accreditation.

Arbitron proposed the methodology changes as part of a proposal the ratings firm submitted Feb. 12 to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. During a hearing held in December, the Committee requested that Arbitron and the PPM Coalition come up with a solution to resolve their differences. There is no indication in the Arbitron filing that the PPM Coalition has agreed to the methodology change.

Other initiatives proposed to improve ethnic samples included a new engagement metric, the formation of a minority leadership council and advertiser outreach to promote minority radio.
Arbitron also reiterated its commitment to achieving Media Rating Council accreditation. So far, the PPM service has only been accredited in three of 33 markets.

The PPM Coalition received a copy of the proposal when Arbitron provided it to the House Committee. In a statement, the PPM Coalition said there were details to be discussed, but declined to elaborate.

"The Coalition had a number of questions regarding the proposal and noted some areas where it would like to see additional details, explanations and benchmarks. Arbitron and the Coalition have made plans to meet and discuss these issues in depth. Until the parties have had these discussions, the Coalition will have no further comment on Arbitron's proposal."