All possible worlds: advancing passive electronic measurement of readership

The past decade has witnessed the development of new passive or near passive, electronic measurement for radio, TV, outdoor,
out of home, and internet consumption using devices like the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPMâ„¢) for radio and TV,
amongst others (e.g., Eurisko’s Media Monitor, Ipsos’ cell meter, GfK’s mediawatch). Most recently, census-based
measurement using digital set-top boxes has emerged as another example of using digital clickstream data for passive audience
measurement with similar logic being applied to other digital media (Pellegrini, 2006).
PPM technology has provided currency audience estimates in Canada (since 2003), Norway (since 2006) and now Kazakhstan,
with Iceland and Denmark launching panels next year. In the US, Philadelphia and Houston are PPM radio markets with New
York now being recruited – all part of the Arbitron plan to electronically measure the top 50 US markets. PPM is an electronic
measurement system for TV and radio that detects an inaudible, identifying audio code in a broadcaster’s output, along with a
time stamp, that permits proper crediting and the calculation of ratings estimates (see Patchen and Webb, 2002; Pellegrini and
Purdye, 2004; 2005). Perhaps the most attractive feature of the PPM is its ability to alleviate respondent burden via the passive
ability to collect media consumption.

 

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