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Encyclopedia > Arbitron

Arbitron is a radio audience research company in the United States. It collects data on radio audiences similar to the data collected by Nielsen Media Research on television audiences. Nielsen Media Research (NMR) is a U.S. firm, headquartered in New York City, and operating primarily from Oldsmar, FL, which measures media audiences, including television, radio and newspapers. ...


Arbitron collects data by selecting a random sample of the population to maintain a written diary describing what radio programs they have listened to. For each selected household that agrees to participate, Arbitron sends a diary for each member of the household age 12 or older. Each person maintains a diary for one week, typically starting on a Thursday and ending the following Wednesday. At the end of the week, the diaries are mailed back to Arbitron. Participants in Arbitron's survey receive an untarnished $1 bill with their diaries [1][2]. A new random sample is selected to participate each week. Arbitron's surveys are broken down into four key ratings periods, roughly corresponding with the seasons and bearing their names[3]. The term commonly used in the radio industry for these quarterly ratings is "Arbitron book," or more specifically, "the Spring book," "the Fall book," etc. Arbitron also releases monthly information twice between the release of each book. These ratings, called Arbitrends, are labeled "Phase I" and "Phase II"[4]. The Arbitrends, despite being mid-term indicators, nonetheless reflect the entire three-month block leading up to them [5]. Arbitron surveys listener habits from 6 a.m. to Midnight, Monday through Friday [6] for 48 weeks a year, with one week off at the end of the Spring book, and three weeks off at the end of the Fall book. The turnaround between the end of the survey period and the release of the information is about three weeks. An appointment diary A diary or journal is a book for writing discrete entries arranged by date. ... This article is about divisions of a year. ...


The information collected is then sold to radio broadcasters and advertisers on a regional basis. Major ratings products include cume (the cumulative number of listeners over a period), average quarter hour (AQH), time spent listening, (TSL), and market breakdowns by demographic. Generally speaking, advertising is the paid promotion of goods, services, companies and ideas by an identified sponsor. ... Time spent listening (TSL) is one of the measurements surveyed by Arbitron in determining ratings for radio stations in the US. The TSL is the amount of time the average listener surveyed spent listening to each radio station at one time, before changing the station or turning it off. ... A demographic or demographic profile is a term used in marketing and broadcasting, to describe a demographic grouping or a market segment. ...


The seasonal books' 12+ ratings, a measurement of the overall number of people 12 and over listening to a particular station, are available as a free service by Arbitron for noncommercial use in most markets, except in cases where radio companies request an embargo. More detailed data, such as demographics and Arbitrends, requires a paid subscription. This article is about the economic term. ...


It has been proven that the data collected by Arbitron may not be as accurate as the data collected by Nielsen or other companies. First, Arbitron's surveys have a relatively low response rate of approximately 20 percent. Second, the written diaries may not accurately reflect the programming actually listened to by the survey participant. For example, the participant may not remember exactly when they started or stopped listening, or they may forget to record an entry in the diary altogether. People have also admitted to falsifying the diary data to try to help their favourite station by saying they have listened much more then they actually did. In addition, it is difficult (and unsafe) to record the listening done in automobiles while driving, though a large proportion of radio listeners primarily tune in while in their cars. Arbitron is attempting to build a new more accurate rating system for these reasons listed above. This new device, called the Portable People Meter (PPM), which can be worn in a similar fashion to a pager or cell phone, will electronically record the listening behavior and history of a single panelist throughout the day for several months. This information will be used in a new monthly ratings service that will provide radio station listening performance numbers more frequently and more accurately than ever before. The new PPM service is currently being tested in the Houston (TX) market, and is scheduled to be installed in the top 10 American markets within the next few years. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


See also

When TV viewers or entertainment professionals in the United States mention ratings they are generally referring to Nielsen Ratings, a system developed by Nielsen Media Research to determine the audience size and composition of television programming. ... B News was a Usenet news server developed at the University of California, Berkeley by Matt Glickman and Mark Horton as a replacement for A News. ... Time spent listening (TSL) is one of the measurements surveyed by Arbitron in determining ratings for radio stations in the US. The TSL is the amount of time the average listener surveyed spent listening to each radio station at one time, before changing the station or turning it off. ...

External links


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museumtv - Encyclopedias - The Encyclopedia of Radio - Broadcast Museum Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago (492 words)
Readers will also discover issues and problems that have helped to define the medium, learning to view radio as an intersection of technological, economic, political, social, and aesthetic factors.
From Arbitron to Zenith, from Fibber McGee to digital audio broadcasting, the Encyclopedia of Radio is the most complete reference work ever compiled on this fascinating medium that continues to shape our culture.
It will be the definitive resource on radio for all high school, college, and public libraries.
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