company_name = Arbitron Inc.
company_type = Public nyse|ARB
foundation = Washington, DC
location_city = New York City, New York
location_country = United States
key_people = Stephen B. Morris
Pres. & CEO
area_served = United States
industry = Media Research
products = ratings data,
homepage = [http://www.arbitron.com/ www.arbitron.com]
Arbitron (nyse|ARB) is a
radioaudience research company in the United Stateswhich collects listener data on radio audiences similar to that collected by Nielsen Media Researchon television audiences. It was founded as American Research Bureau by Jim Seiler in 1949 and became bi-coastal by merging with L.A. based Coffin, Cooper and Clay in the early 50s. ARB's initial business was the collection of television broadcast ratings exclusively.
ARB changed its name to Arbitron in the mid 1960s. The name came from the Arbitron System that was one of ARB's products; a central statistical computer with leased lines to viewers homes to monitor their activity. Deployed in New York, it gave instant ratings data on what people were watching. A reporting board would light up to indicate what home was watching what broadcast.
Here is the audio interview of Ernest H. Clay, ARB's Research and Production Director on WGN's discussion show [http://www.dph.com/audio/Your%20right%20to%20say%20it%20-%20The%20Question%20of%20Broadcast%20Ratings.mp3 Your Right To Say It]
Arbitron collects data by selecting a random sample of a population in roughly 100 metros throughout the United States four times a year. An additional 200 markets are surveyed in the Spring and Fall. People in the sample are asked to maintain a written
diarydescribing each radio program listened to. Each selected household agreeing to participate is provided a diary for each member aged 12 and older for one week, beginning on Thursday and ending the following Wednesday. At the end of the week, the completed diaries are returned to Arbitron by post.
A new random sample is selected to participate each week. Arbitron's surveys are broken down into four key ratings periods, roughly corresponding with the
seasonsand bearing their names. [cite web
url = http://www.arbitron.com/home/surveysched.htm
title = Survey Schedule: 2006-2007
publisher = Arbitron
accessdate = 2007-01-11 ] The term commonly used in the radio industry for these quarterly ratings is "Arbitron book", or more specifically, the "Spring book", "Fall book", etc. Arbitron also releases monthly information twice between the release of each book. These ratings, called "Arbitrends" are labeled "Phase I" and "Phase II". The Arbitrends, despite being mid-term indicators, reflect the entire three-month block leading up to them. [cite web
url = http://www.rogerwimmer.com/researchdr/arbitronquestions.htm
title = Arbitron Questions
publisher = RogerWimmer.com
author = Roger D. Wimmer
accessdate = 2007-01-11 ] Arbitron surveys listener habits from six a.m. to midnight from Monday through SundayFact|date=October 2007, 48 weeks per year. There is given a one week break following the "Spring book", and an additional three weeks break following "Fall book". [cite web
url = http://www.arbitron.com/home/ratings.htm
title = Arbitron Ratings Data
publisher = Arbitron
accessdate = 2007-01-11 ] Turnaround time for release of data from the end of the survey period is approximately three weeks.
After collection, the data is marketed to radio broadcasters, radio networks, cable companies, advertisers, advertising agencies, out-of-home advertising companies and the online radio industry. [cite web
url = http://www.arbitron.com/about/home.htm
title = What We Do
publisher = Arbitron
accessdate = 2007-01-11 ] Major ratings products include "
cume" (the cumulative number of unique listeners over a period), average quarter hour(AQH - the average number of people listening every 15 minutes), time spent listening, (TSL), and market breakdowns by demographic. Its important to understand that the CUME only counts a listener once, where as the AQH can count the same person multiple times, this is how to determine the TSL. For example, if you looked into a room and saw Fred and Jane, then 15 minutes later saw Fred with Sara. The Cume would be 3 (Fred, Jane, Sara) and the AQH would be 2. (an average of two people in the room in a given 15 minute period)
The seasonal books' 12+ ratings, a measurement of the overall number of people 12 and over listening to a particular station, are available as a free service for noncommercial use in most markets, except in cases where radio companies request an
embargo. More detailed data, such as demographics and Arbitrends, are available only by paid subscription.
Portable People Meter
With the interest in the collection of more accurate ratings data, Arbitron has introduced the
Portable People Meter(PPM). The PPM is a wearable portable device much like a pager or cell phone, that electronically gathers inaudible codes that identify the source of a broadcast, such as a radio station. Arbitron recruits and compensates a cross section of consumers to wear the meters for about a year. The audience estimates generated from each monthly survey is used as the buy/sell currency for radio stations and advertisers/agencies. The PPM is the currency in Houston, Philadelphia, New York, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Middlesex- Somerset- Union, Chicago, Los Angeles, Riverside- San Bernardino, San Franciscoand San Jose. By 2010, 50 markets will be measured using the PPM. [http://www.arbitron.com/portable_people_meters/ppm_rollout.htm] In 2006, Arbitron sued competitors International Demographicsand IPSOSconcerning 3 patents related to technology used by the Portable People Meter. [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Arbitron Inc. Files Patent Infringement Suit against International Demographics, Inc., IPSOS Group S.A. And Its Related Entities. | date=11-OCT-06 | publisher= | url =http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/intellectual-property-patent/3937510-1.html | work =Business Wire | pages = | accessdate = 2008-04-26 | language = ]
Top 10 of the Market Research Sector 2006
Nielsen Ratings(for televisionprograms)
Time spent listening, one of the metrics measured
List of United States radio markets
Radio & Records, periodical which publishes Arbitron data for commercial stations
Radio Research Consortium, non-profit corporation which publishes Arbitron data for non-commercial stations
The Media Audit, a similar company with different methodology.
* [http://www.arbitron.com/ Arbitron Official website]
* [http://www.arbitron.com/home/ratings.htm Ratings - Persons 12+ from Arbitron] for commercial stations
* [http://www.fmqb.com/ratings.asp Ratings - Persons 12+ from FMQB] for commercial stations
* [http://www.radioandrecords.com/RRRatings/ Ratings - Persons 12+ from Radio and Records] for commercial stations
* [http://www.arbitron.com/radio_stations/mm001050.asp List of U.S. Radio Markets (ranked by size)]
* [http://www.arbitron.com/downloads/nationwidedom.pdf Nationwide Radio Reference Guide]
* [http://www.dfwradioarchives.com/ DFWRadioArchives - contains historical Arbitron ratings data for Dallas/Fort Worth, TX]
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