Nielsen Radio Samples Top Arbitron

While Arbitron is busy defending the portable people meter ratings service in Miami and other top markets, Nielsen is taking the opportunity to tout its new radio ratings service in small and midsize markets. Set for release next month, Nielsen’s radio ratings will be based on samples that exceeded its own targets on average by nearly 40 percent, Nielsen reported Wednesday (July 15).

According to Nielsen’s report, all 51 Nielsen-rated markets had samples above the targeted goal. Sample sizes were particularly high among the hard-to-measure 18-24 and 25-34 demographic groups.

Nielsen’s foray into radio ratings in the U.S. presents a formidable challenge to Arbitron, which has dominated the radio ratings business. Even before Nielsen over-delivered on its sample, the company’s plans were to take on Arbitron’s diary service by introducing an alternative radio ratings service based on samples twice as large as those previously available.

Nielsen credits the larger samples to its sampling techniques and a preprinted sticker diary. To recruit panelists, Nielsen uses address-based sampling, rather than relying on telephone-based sampling, allowing Nielsen to target cell phone-only homes and landline homes with unlisted numbers.

So far, Nielsen’s radio ratings service has attracted a number of radio broadcasters including ESPN Radio, Cumulus Media, Clear Channel Radio and Maverick Media, as well as several agencies.

Mediaweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.