Arbitron Portable People Meter System successfully tracks podcasts

With podcasting making headlines as one of the latest technologies being embraced by terrestrial radio broadcasters, Arbitron Inc. has demonstrated that its Portable People Meter (PPM) system has the ability to track audiences who listen to this new method of radio programming.

During the week of July 18, Arbitron encoded several podcasts by Clear Channel’s WHTZ-FM (Z100) in New York, that were uploaded to the podcast portion of Apple’s iTunes Music Store. The Z100 podcasts were then downloaded to an MP3 player and played over headsets using the PPM headset adapter. The PPM detected and recorded the unique identification codes that were embedded in the MP3 file.

“We’re committed to delivering Clear Channel Radio’s outstanding original content through a wide variety of delivery methods, including podcasting,” said John Hogan, Clear Channel Radio president and CEO in the press release.

“Podcasting is a very different distribution system for traditional radio and the successful test of the PPM should further build confidence in how well it works with all types of audio programming,” said Pierre Bouvard, president, Portable People Meters, Arbitron Inc. in the press release. “The state-of-the-art encoding system used in the PPM does a better job of identifying alternate distribution platforms and time-shifted audio content than any other approach to portable electronic audience measurement that we’ve seen.”

The Arbitron Portable People Meter has performed successfully with virtually every significant type of audio distribution and compression system. These include some of the most technologically advanced audio technology such as Dolby, HDTV and satellite uplinks Digicypher and Videocypher.

The Arbitron Portable People Meter is a state of the art audience measurement system that uses a passive audience measurement device — about the size of a small cell phone — to track consumer exposure to media and entertainment, including broadcast, cable and satellite television; terrestrial, satellite and online radio as well as cinema advertising and many types of place-based electronic media. The PPM detects inaudible codes embedded in the audio portion of media and entertainment content delivered by broadcasters, content providers and distributors.

Carried throughout the day by randomly selected survey participants, the PPM device can track when and where they watch television, listen to radio as well as how they interact with other forms of media and entertainment. The PPM is equipped with a motion sensor, a patented quality control feature unique to the system, which allows Arbitron to confirm the compliance of the PPM survey participants every day. At the end of the day, the meter is placed in a docking station that extracts the codes and sends them to a central computer.

Arbitron Inc. is an international media and marketing research firm serving radio broadcasters, cable companies, advertisers, advertising agencies and outdoor advertising companies in the United States, Mexico and Europe. Arbitron’s core businesses are measuring network and local market radio audiences across the United States; surveying the retail, media and product patterns of local market consumers; and providing application software used for analyzing media audience and marketing information data. The Company has also developed the Portable People Meter (PPM), a new technology for media and marketing research.

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  1. “…Clear Channel Radio’s outstanding original content through a wide variety of delivery methods…” Let’s start with the FM radio…Clear Channel is the WalMart/McDonalds/Dominos of US FM Radio. If you wanna be like everyone else, be CERTAIN to tune in!!!!

    MDN: given

  2. If all Arbitron ever monitors is Clear Channel, my own praise for the scope of the resultant ratings would be substantially diminished. But Arbitron usually tends to look at the larger picture. We’ll see.

  3. All of this audience counting crap is exactly what is wrong with conventional media: producers get too scared to release content unless it fits some very narrow model of what is adjudged to be “popular”.

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