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Still No Date On Web Ratings Service


The online ratings product Arbitron is developing is a work in progress according to Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer Sean Creamer. Arbitron is working on a ratings product that will use log files to measure Internet listening. The product, from what Creamer said on the Arbitron conference call, will be available to any streaming provider. That would include all radio stations that stream and any pure play Internet company such as Pandora. The good news for radio is that it will be a product that combines all listeners.

The service Arbitron ultimately delivers will be a "single footprint" of listeners. Creamer says, "the goal is an integrated service so stations get total credit." For broadcasters, they would be able to go to advertisers and say "Here's how many listeners I have online, here's approximately how many listeners we have over-the-air." Those ratings would put everyone who considers themselves "audio" to the consumer on the same footing. Of course, that is if you believe the PPM and diary numbers are accurate and if you decide to purchase the new service. And that brings in the next big question. How much?

Of course, the big question for broadcasters is how much is it going to cost? That's a battle radio wages with Arbitron regarding its over-the-air PPM and diary systems. Radio wants bigger sample sizes without an increase in how much they pay. Arbitron doesn't seem to be budging much on that (see earnings story) from what was reported last week after the Radio Advisory Council met. Although, in the name of unity, both sides say they are working together on some sort of solution. Something they've been saying for what seems like years.

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