It's been an interesting day, as both Media Audit and Arbitron are continuing the dialogue about the "Cell Phone Only" problem, brought to the surface once again by our recent Tech Web Poll.
Both Media Audit and Arbitron are clearly addressing the problem in their passive measurement systems, and we applaud them both for recognizing this need. But the CPO problem is also a reminder that technology is moving faster than most of us can deal with.
While we have gone on the record about the need for passive measurement, we are concerned that right now, today, the radio industry is attempting to nurture youth formats that are in need of representative sampling. Arbitron is correct that our Tech Web Poll is not stratified to the population. But is National Institute of Health data the best that our industry can do? Let's not parse the numbers, and instead agree the CPO problem is of concern to youth formats, especially for Arbitron. And as our study suggests, it is gravitating to other formats and older listeners. As the economy gets shakier, more and more people are questioning the need for a land line and a cell phone.
We are pleased the lines of communication are open, but we remain concerned that 2008 is a long time to wait for CPO representation in the diary process. Our numbers grew approximately 24% from last year (and that's in agreement with the NIH data, by the way), and we expect the trend to continue as cell phones become more ubiquitous and more a part of our media culture.
For every broadcaster that has Alternative radio stations in its portfolio (or any other youth-targeted format), and for all the hard working DJs, programmers, sales people, and managers investing their careers in these formats, we again urge Arbitron to do what it takes to accelerate the process. And we're glad to hear the industry talking about CPO. What's YOUR take?
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