NEWS23 June 2009

Arbitron plans out-of-home TV measurement

North America Technology

US— Radio ratings firm Arbitron is to use its portable people meter (PPM) technology to measure out-of-home TV viewing with the launch of a new audience measurement service, ARB-TV.

The firm said that ARB-TV “complements existing data services and offers media greater insight into what constitutes their total audience and helps advertisers plan how to reach that audience”.

Executive vice president Alton Adams said the firm was working with several “best in class” media customers and that the launch of ARB-TV was “a natural extension of our existing services and, we believe, an important step towards cross-platform measurement capabilities”.

Arbitron hinted at expanding into new media markets earlier this year when it hired Adams. PPMs are already used to measure TV audiences in Canada and Iceland and were accredited by the MRC for joint TV and radio measurement in Houston in 2007.

The launch comes six months after TV ratings firm Nielsen suspended its out-of-home audience measurement service – a joint venture with Integrated Media Measurement Inc – saying there was “not enough client support” given the economic climate.

However, Nielsen continues to run the On Location Media service, which measures audiences for location-specific private video networks. ARB-TV is likely to go head-to-head with this offering, fanning the growing rivalry between Arbitron and Nielsen, which has been heating up since the latter announced plans to offer radio ratings in 51 small to mid-sized US markets.