December 18, 2000

The Arbitron Company announced that it has placed meters with the first 50 consumers for its Philadelphia market trial of its revolutionary new radio, television and cable TV audience measurement device—the Portable People Meter (PPM).

Over the next six to eight weeks, Arbitron expects to recruit and install personal meters in a panel of 300 consumers for the first trial phase in the Philadelphia market.

"In this first round of recruiting, agreement rates by consumers have exceeded our expectations," said Marshall Snyder, executive vice president, Portable People Meter Development, Arbitron. "Consumers are finding that the equipment is easy to install. And all they have to do is the keep the meters with them throughout the day to have Arbitron track their exposure to radio, TV and cable programming."

Arbitron plans to have over 70 broadcasters and cable networks serving the Philadelphia market encoding their signals by the time the full, 300-person panel is in place. As of the first week in January 2001, 54 radio, TV and cable channels are already encoding their broadcasts, many using an improved version of the encoding software that Arbitron released at the end of November.

The Portable People Meter is a pager-sized device that is worn by consumers throughout the day. It automatically detects inaudible codes that broadcasters and cable networks embed in the audio portion of their programming using encoders provided by Arbitron. At the end of each day, the meter is placed into a base station that recharges the device and sends the collected codes to Arbitron for tabulation. The technology has been successfully tested in the field in Manchester, England, in 1998 and in late 1999 to early 2000.

The market trial in Philadelphia will take place in two phases. The initial deployment will use 300 meters in the Wilmington, Delaware, radio Metro, which is embedded within the Philadelphia DMA. In 2001, Arbitron plans to begin increasing the sample to cover the Philadelphia market.

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