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Arbitron And Cumulus Sign New Deal For Ratings

Arbitron and Cumulus have signed a multi-year agreement for Arbitron diary and Portable People Meter radio ratings services covering all 450 Cumulus stations in the 100 Cumulus radio markets currently surveyed by Arbitron. The agreement provides Cumulus stations in 44 diary markets access to the Arbitron radio ratings service for the first time in more than three years. It also renews ratings agreements in 17 PPM markets and 39 diary markets.

In addition to diary and PPM local market ratings, the agreement also provides Cumulus with access to Arbitron software applications, Scarborough consumer profile services, and national and network radio ratings for Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus has also agreed to collaborate with Arbitron on cross-platform services that would quantify the total impact of the Cumulus radio brand.

Arbitron CEO Sean Creamer (pictured right) said, “We are pleased to have Cumulus once again as a subscriber to Arbitron’s radio ratings services in each of its Arbitron-measured markets. Cumulus is using multiple platforms to reach listeners and engage consumers and Arbitron has a robust suite of technologies and methodologies that we can leverage to help Cumulus demonstrate the power of its radio brand.”

Getting a Cumulus deal with the home office has been a big priority for Arbitron. Signed contracts with radio companies is, after all, Arbitron's main revenue source. For years Cumulus has been willing to sit on the sidelines until it got the deal it wanted. Cumulus has been very critical of the ratings firm, especially Cumulus Co-COO John Dickey. Of course, all of that criticism could have been a negotiating tactic leading to the announcement today.

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey said, “With this agreement, Arbitron and Cumulus are demonstrating a long-term commitment to collaborate for the benefit of the radio industry. We will work closely with Arbitron on its ongoing quality and service enhancement initiatives. Specifically, we look forward to participating in the development of an integrated, total radio audience service that gives broadcasters full credit for our audiences regardless of how listeners access our content.”

Arbitron recently announced it was purchased by Nielsen  for $1.3 billion and that may have put Cumulus in a better negotiating position with Arbitron. The ratings firm bags a huge customer for its new parent company. Cumulus becomes Arbitron's second-biggest customer behind Clear Channel. Cumulus has a previous relationship with Nielsen. The two companies teamed up a few years back to try to compete with Arbitron. It did not succeed and Nielsen folded that operation.