SBS Preps for PPM Battle

Spanish Broadcasting System, dismayed over the lower ratings it may get when Arbitron switches from diaries to the portable people meter in New York and Los Angeles this fall, said Wednesday it had retained the services of New York-based strategic communications and consulting firm MirRam Group, the same The New York-based strategic communications and consulting firm that orchestrated the “Don’t Count Us Out” campaign leveled at Nielsen’s roll-out of local people meters. Both Nielsen Media Reserach and Mediaweek are owned by The Nielsen Co.

Frank Flores, vp of SBS in New York, called preliminary ratings from the PPM in New York, which goes commercial later this year, “troubling.”

MirRam’s charge is to help educate the public about the “potential damage that a new system of measuring radio listening habits could have on the Hispanic community,” SBS said in a press release.

“I think we are looking at a fight to save Spanish-language radio in the U.S. We can’t afford to lose media outlets that serve our communities, much less as a result of an unproven and questionable ratings system,” said Roberto Ramirez, partner, MirRam Group.

SBS is one of a handful of radio groups concerned that the PPM, which is still seeking Media Rating Council accreditation in Philadelphia (it has accreditation in Houston), could hurt ethnic broadcasters. Also on Wednesday, Cox Radio, a constant critic of the PPM, and Inner City Broadcasting, took out an ad in two radio Web trade publications, calling for Arbitron not to roll out additional PPM markets until it secured accreditation.

Arbitron had no immediate comment on the SBS release. In a prepared statement Arbitron responded Tuesday (May 20) to the Cox and ICBC ad  that the ratings firm was committed to completing an audit and full review with the MRC in each of the markets before commercializing the service. Arbitron also reiterated its commitment to ultimately obtain accreditation, per the minimum standards put forth in the MRC’s Draft Voluntary Code of Conduct.