Arbitron Council Wins New Benchmarks

Following its first meetings of the year from April 27-28, the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council was able to muscle some new benchmarks out of Arbitron for both their PPM and diary services.
During a call with the press that also included Arbitron president, CEO Michael Skarzynski and other Council members on Wednesday afternoon (April 29), new Council chairperson Lisa Decker, who also serves as senior vp, market manger for CBS Radio/Seattle, outlined those new benchmarks for 2008.

-Persons 6+ DDI (Designated Delivery Index) will move from 90 percent to 95 percent in year one of currency and to 100 percent in year two.
-Persons 18-34 DDI goes from 70 percent to 80 percent
-Persons 18-34 average in-tab rate will increase from 60 percent to 70 percent (All will be measured in a 13-month rolling average)
-By the end of 2009, cell-phone-only households in all PPM markets will increase from 10 percent to 15 percent. Originally Arbitron had agreed to increase to 12.5 percent.
As for the diary, which received its own full day of discussions during the meetings, Decker said, “We are pleased to announce that in all diary markets Arbitron will agree to a new DDI benchmark for persons 18-34 of 70 percent in year one and 80 percent in year two. This will begin with spring 2009.”
At the November 2008 meetings the Council passed a resolution for a DDI guarantee in all diary markets for persons 18-54. Decker says the Council once again requested this DDI guarantee, and “this time Arbitron has agreed to establish a persons 18-54 DDI guarantee. Arbitron will report back to the Council during the summer meetings with ideas on level and timing of such a guarantee.”
Regarding a question about whether Arbitron has yet to pay out on its guarantees, Skarzynski admitted that the company has made rebates on guarantees not met, but declined to name the markets or the companies involved.
Adding that the Council meetings occurred “at a particularly important time for Arbitron because our customers are sharing with Arbitron that they are facing some particularly tough economic times, Skarzynski declined to discuss any ongoing negotiations with customers, saying, “We work with customers on specific issues as they come up. The company doesn’t comment on specific customer negotiations, but if a customer has an issue with us they bring that forward and that’s a matter that Arbitron takes seriously and under consideration confidentially with our specific customers.
Looking forward to the summer meetings, Decker said the Council will be focused on sample sizes.

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