Portable People Meter

Portable People Meter

The Portable People Meter (sometimes mistakenly "Personal People Meter") or PPM, is a device developed by Arbitron to measure how many people are listening (or at least exposed) to individual radio stations and television stations, including cable TV. The PPM is worn like a pager, and detects hidden audio tones within a station or network's audio stream, logging each time it finds such a signal. It has proved to be much more accurate than the old handwritten logs or wired meters, and is immune to forgetful test subjects.

There are several important parts to the PPM system:
*An encoder inserts the tones (via psychoacoustic masking) into a station's or network's airchain.
*A monitor checks that the encoder is working properly.
*The wearable Portable People Meter itself.
*A base station for each PPM, where each person in the household places it overnight to recharge the battery and to transmit information to the hub.
*A portable recharger for vacations and other trips away from the home base.
*A hub (or collector) for each household that takes the collected information and has a modem to upload it overnight via telephone.

The system can also be used for other media, such as movies and music which are recorded with a digital encoding. Various venues and retail locations are also encoding their media in the Houston area.

Research reports

The PPM is beginning to provide new insights into how audiences respond to the various programming elements radio stations offer. Arbitron, as well as other firms that provide research and consulting services to radio stations, have begin publishing numerous studies based on analysis of PPM data.

The PPM is still a fairly new electronic measurement system that is in its beginning stages. The creator of the PPM, Arbitron, is being challenged by the Spanish Radio Association (SRA) as to its accuracy in measuring the Hispanic population. Of concern to the SRA is the way in which Hispanics are being recruited and represented.

External links

* [http://www.arbitron.com/portable_people_meters/home.htm PPM at Arbitron]
* [http://www.colemaninsights.com/September2006.htm Study on the impact of commercials on radio audiences on the Coleman Insights website]
* [http://www.colemaninsights.com/february2007.htm Study on the impact of new music on the audience levels of Country-formatted radio stations on the Coleman Insights website]

Spanish Radio Assoc. Responds to Concerns About PPM at NY Council Meeting
* [http://newsblaze.com/story/20080912102505zzzz.nb/topstory.html]


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