Thursday, October 23, 2008

People Meters...Racist?

This is a story from AdAge.

NEW YORK ( -- Arbitron's commercialization of its Portable People Meter system in New York and New Jersey radio markets this week triggered a flurry of conflict. The attorneys general of both states filed suit to block implementation of the system, which, they charge, undercounts African American and Hispanic audiences. Arbitron then counter sued. Meanwhile, the Hispanic Radio Association and the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters joined with regional minority radio stations on the steps of New York's City Hall to blast the Arbitron system as inaccurate. Arbitron defends the accuracy of its data gathering.

Here is the video of this report.

This is very important because radio stations base advertising rates on ratings. Remember when the music industry switched to electronic data gathering to measure record sales? Soundscan changed the landscape of the music industry forever. I remember Garth Brooks and Country Music really taking of then. With these portable people meters, the same will happened to radio ratings. The problem is the portable people meters don't appear to be spread over a true representation of the listening public. Newspapers, television,the Internet and mobile media are businesses that use advertising to drive revenue. The whole media upheaval going on now is based on how to measure audience for content. My new position at my employer will study this problem. I feel it is exciting times.