Arbitron Settles with NJ and NY Attorneys General


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New York - Jan 8, 2009 - Arbitron has joined in a final consent judgment with the Attorney General of New Jersey (NJAG) that will resolve all claims against Arbitron that were alleged in the lawsuit filed by the NJAG in the Superior Court of New Jersey for Middlesex County on Oct. 9, 2008. The lawsuit alleged violations of New Jersey consumer protection and civil rights laws relating to the marketing and commercialization in New Jersey of the Portable People Meter radio ratings services.

Arbitron has also joined in a stipulated order on consent with the Attorney General of the State of New York (NYAG) that will resolve all claims against Arbitron that were alleged in the lawsuit filed by the NYAG in New York County Supreme Court on Oct. 9, 2008.

As part of the NJ settlement, Arbitron denies any liability or wrongdoing. Also as part of the settlement, Arbitron will incorporate a number of actions into its improvement program for the Portable People Meter ratings service in the Philadelphia and New York radio markets, consistent with the actions already included in Arbitron's improvement program for the New York market and that are part of its agreement with the Attorney General of the State of New York.

Within the PPM services in the Philadelphia and New York radio markets, Arbitron has agreed to:

  • Recruit panelists using a combination of telephone number and addressed-based sampling methods beginning January 2009. Arbitron agreed to use the address-based sampling technique for 15 percent of our recruitment efforts for New York by July 2010 and for Philadelphia by January 2011;
  • Increase the sample target for persons residing in cell-phone-only households in stages to 15 percent of the total New York radio metro sample target by July 2010 and in the Philadelphia radio metro by January 2011;
  • Set a target of 20 percent for the Sample Performance Indicator (SPI) by 2011 and take all reasonable measures to achieve in the New York radio metro a minimum 15 percent SPI level by July 2009, 16 percent by October 2009 and 17 percent by June 2010, per the agreement with the Attorney General of the State of New York;
  • Set a target of 20 percent for the Sample Performance Indicator (SPI) by 2010 and take all reasonable measures to achieve in the Philadelphia radio metro a minimum 15 percent SPI level by October 2009, 16 percent by April 2010 and 17 percent by December 2010;
  • Take all reasonable measures to achieve average in-tab rates of at least 75 percent for all age/sex and race/ethnicity demo groups in New and Philadelphia by April 1, 2009, and, per the agreement with the Attorney General of the State of New York; ensure that subcategories comprising 10 percent or more of the New York Metro population fall within 90 percent of the overall 75 percent target; and to ensure that subcategories comprising 10 percent or more of the Philadelphia radio metro population fall within 85 percent of the overall 75 percent target;
  • Make all reasonable efforts to obtain and retain accreditation for the New York and Philadelphia PPM radio ratings services from the Media Rating Council;
  • Provide to subscribers monthly reports detailing the PPM sample sizes by individual zip code in the Philadelphia and New York Markets; and
  • Include a disclaimer on promotional material indicating that PPM ratings are based on audience estimates and should not be relied on for precise accuracy or precise representativeness of the New York and Philadelphia radio market.

    Arbitron agreed to pay the state of New Jersey $130,000 for investigative costs and expenses, and in the New York case agreed to pay $200,000 in settlement of the claims and $60,000 for costs.

    Arbitron will pay a single lump sum of $100,000 to the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) for a joint radio project between NABOB and the Spanish Radio Association to support minority radio; complete a non-response bias study in the New York radio market; and fund an advertising campaign in the radio trade press promoting minority radio.

    Both attorneys general reserve the right to rescind their orders and reinstitute the civil action, if Arbitron has not achieved all of the specific metrics in the agreement. In New York, Arbitron must obtain accreditation from the Media Rating Council for its New York PPM radio ratings service by Oct. 15, 2009. In New Jersey, Arbitron must obtain accreditation from the Media Rating Council for either New York or Philadelphia PPM radio ratings service by Dec. 31, 2009.



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