A Game of I Gotcha with PPM.

  I am taking a view on the current PPM battle between Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) and Arbitron which transpired in the last 72 hours that the broadcasters might not want to hear.

Arbitron filed a Temporary Restraining Order request in NY Supreme Court against SBS for breach an alleged breach of contract and past monies or fees due for SBS’s ratings service contract, (see below to download Memorandum, Temporary Restraining Order Request and other documents filed by Arbitron against SBS).

Adding to this, SBS allegedly has stopped encoding their radio signals.  So Arbitron’s PPM decoders cannot pick up the SBS stations and generate radio ratings for the SBS radio stations in the alleged markets and basically rendering the ratings results in these markets as questionable.

In a 2007 contract between SBS and Arbitron, SBS would implement and maintained encoding of their radio stations according to contract.  According to Arbitron, SBS shut off the encoders at it stations in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco on February 3, 2010 without providing notice.  SBS engineers confirmed the shutoff based on orders from the SBS corporate offices.  Arbitron alleges that this is a tactic that SBS is using to dispute fees owed to Arbitron and that SBS has not paid the fees since July 2009, allegedly owing Arbitron $2.5 million in fees.

Raul Alarcon – CEO of SBS has been known for his cavalier approach to business and his tactics.

Univision Radio has not encoded their signal in several markets, but are not in violations of their contract with Arbitron.

The PPM Coalition made this statement regarding Arbitron approach to SBS, “With regard to the Temporary Restraining Order issued yesterday by the New York State Court, counsel for Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. noted: Arbitron’s decision to obtain the requested relief by waiting until the end of the day to file ex parte papers which SBS did not have the opportunity to review prior to the hearing is telling.  We believe that a full airing of the evidence will lead to a drastically different result.”

Well, welcome to the big leagues.  You didn’t think Arbitron plays hardball?  Advantage Arbitron, so what!

This might not help the cause of other parties that were working collectively and diligently to help bring a working consensus that could give both the broadcasters and Arbitron a platform to potentially resolve the differences, especially in the light that SBS has exercised pressure on the political front to help their cause against PPM in Washington DC.

The question at hand.  Where advertisers also in the dark of the alleged SBS not encoding their radio stations and the impact of future ratings since February 3, 2010?

This is a Big Boys game.  Fortunes are at stake on both sides.

The problem here is that there must be a movement forward towards resolving PPM issues from both sides.

Don’t let the advertisers decide who they will side with.  The Broadcasters might not like the selection.

To download documents CLICK below:

Order to show Cause CLICK HERE.

Complaint CLICK HERE.

Memorandum CLICK HERE.

Attachments CLICK HERE.

By Gene Bryan -CEO /HispanicAd.com

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