Clear Channel has signed a three-year contract renewal for Arbitron’s diary service in 105 markets. The $69 million deal does not include seven small markets where it will operate without ratings data and another 17 small markets where the company earlier inked a ratings deal with Nielsen.
In addition, Clear Channel has contracted with Nielsen for an 18th market, Newburgh/Middletown, N.Y.
As part of the Arbitron renewal, CC’s Premiere Radio Networks will receive Arbitron’s RADAR network ratings service. The contract also covers ratings services for CC subsidiaries Katz Media Group and Clear Channel Traffic.
Clear Channel’s previous contract with Arbitron expired at the end of 2008 and included ratings surveys through fall 2008. The company has a separate deal with Arbitron for its PPM ratings service.
In a statement, the company said it remains “fully committed” to Nielsen in the 18 markets where it has contracted for Nielsen’s new sticker diary service, which launches in August in 51 small markets. “Based on the outstanding data gained from the first pilot market, we remain interested in expanding our relationship [with Nielsen] to include additional markets,” the statement said. “The professionalism, commitment to accuracy, and customer support we’ve received from Nielsen is matched only by their research quality and ability to deliver an accurate measure of true radio listening. We look forward to a long and mutually productive relationship with them.”
Nielsen conducted a pilot study of its sticker diary Dec. 4-10 in Lexington, Ky. Its entrance into the U.S. radio measurement market could be a ratings game-changer. It is the first formidable challenger to Arbitron’s near-monopoly since Birch Ratings’ telephone-based service gained widespread acceptance in the ’80s. (Birch shuttered in 1992.)
The markets where Clear Channel will operate without ratings are: Grand Forks, N.D.; Sioux City, Iowa; Sarasota, Fla.; Jackson, Miss.; Lima, Ohio; Parkersburg, W.Va.; and Williamsport. Pa.
Radio and Records, as well as Mediaweek, are units of the Nielsen Co.