Arbitron Field Tests PPM for Unencoded Stations

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New York - Sep 11, 2006 - Arbitron is field testing an audio matching capability to add to the Portable People Meter (PPM) electronic ratings system that would allow the PPM to track audiences to radio stations that choose not to encode their signals. The dual-function meter is capable of identifying a radio station using two methods of detection using existing Portable People Meter hardware.

First, a dual-function PPM can detect inaudible codes in the audio of stations that are equipped with the Arbitron PPM encoder. In addition, a dual-function PPM can also collect audio signatures for any radio station, which are later matched to signatures collected by an in-market monitoring system.

Arbitron’s current test is designed to calibrate radio listening estimates produced by audio matching to the estimates produced by the PPM encoding system for the same set of stations. Arbitron downloaded updated versions of audio-matching software into the current generation PPMs that are in the hands of the 50 former PPM panelists who are participating in the dual-function field test. The download was delivered through household phone lines.

At the end of the day, a listener's meter is placed in a docking station that extracts the codes and signatures and sends them to a central computer. The PPM is equipped with a motion sensor to confirm the compliance of the PPM survey participants every day.

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