P&G Speaks Truth to Schlock

At the IAB Leadership Conference in Orlando the first week in February of 2017, Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at P&G, spoke truth to schlock.  And cheaters. But - even better - he held up those in the ad business who provide quality, transparent service.  Take 30 minutes to enjoy: 

theMEDIAdash Local Launches in Beta

Ah, the fruits of our labor are ripening.  Today, June 20th, is  the official beta announcement day for theMEDIAdash's first product, theMEDIAdashLocal.  theMEDIAdash team has worked long and hard on this and we're pleased to begin showing it off to the world.

Here's a snippet from our press release:

New Self-Serve, Online Platform from The Media Dash Transforms Local Radio Buying-Selling Experience for Local Advertisers and Broadcasters

New Jersey, Denver and New Orleans Markets Go Live

FAIRFIELD, Conn., June 20, 2011 – A new self-serve online platform designed to improve the buying and selling of local radio advertising has been launched by TheMediaDash.com, Inc. (www.theMEDIAdash.com).

Called The Media Dash™ Local (www.themediadashlocal.com), the digital platform provides an easy way for small- and mid-sized businesses to buy advertising on local radio stations. It is designed to help broadcasters sell premium on-air and streaming commercials to both new and repeat advertisers. Both parties will benefit from the ease, speed and accountability of the system.

The product will be branded locally in each market. The first local radio markets already operating are in New Jersey (www.NewJerseymediadash.com), Denver (www.Denvermediadash.com); and New Orleans (www.NewOrleansmediadash.com). Two additional markets – Santa Rosa, Calif. and Long Island, N.Y. – are slated to go live in the coming weeks.

“Due to limited resources, local radio stations typically focus their sales efforts on their largest customers, failing to address a broad market opportunity of under-served local advertisers,” said Drew Hilles, CEO of The Media Dash.  “Our goal is to make it as easy to buy local radio as it is to place Internet advertising. The Media Dash Local is designed to bring new advertisers to radio and generate incremental revenues for stations.” 


Stay tuned!

 

New Year Day, 2011

This will be a very interesting year for radio. Millions of people are being introduced to mobile audio streaming for the first time with the acquisition of a new smartphone or perhaps a tablet like the iPad or Samsung Galaxy.

Applications like TuneIn radio are providing unparalleled access to streaming radio stations, both terrestrial-based and pure play. Location-based services like Foursquare and Facebook Check-In are gaining in visibility, if not widespread usage.

Couple that with a more realistic outlook on the part of leaders in the business, optimism tempered with recent memories of almost-disaster.

Radio people in 2011 are beginning to realize that the message from years ago of people like Mark Ramsey is true - it's not 100% about the method of transmission, it's about the quality of the content and a focus on delivering it to as many devices as possible.

We are still on the left side of the consumer adoption slope for mobile streaming - but the slope is getting steeper and a year from now people will not remember not having access to all of the world's streaming audio, anywhere, anytime.

There is a fly in the ointment, and that is the possible future behavior of the ISPs and mobile service providers. Many of these companies have toll booths on both ends of the system - at the content creator's side and at the content listener's end. Some even have a tollbooth in the middle. If you want to get a great analysis of how this may go, check out Tim Wu's new book, The Master Switch. This is a must-read for anyone in a leadership role in the communications business.

How we tie in the world wide reach of our new content delivery platforms with the delivery of consumers to local business will be the radio story of 2011.

Holiday treat

Just downloaded the new iPad app for Squarespace and this is my first post with it. Definitely very nice. Hopefully it will encourage me to post more often!

Ah, what to post?

Just moved radioevangelist to a new host and I have wondering what to post first here. For today, I'll just say that it's really, really hot here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Went up to 100 degrees again this afternoon - way warmer than it should be. Right now, at 6:45 PM, it's 95 degrees in the shade, and just a hint of a breeze. Not exactly conducive to a run or any other outdoor activity. In fact, it's quite daunting to exit the house and get hit with a blast of hot air that is worse than the midsummer heat of Florida. So - what to do? Well, tuning in to WTMD is a great way to chill out... and it worked again today. Thanks for the great tunes! Even though you're not promising a cool down. Maybe tomorrow will be a little cooler.

Jeff Haley of RAB Announces that Streaming Audio is Radio

The call for entries for the 2010 Mercury Awards for outstanding audio commercials was made yesterday. You will notice that I said "audio commercials." Up until now, the Mercuries were limited to commercials aired on terracaster outlets. In a comment about this change, Jeff Haley of the RAB admitted what many of us knew all along - the platform doesn't matter, it's all "radio." Here's what he said (emphasis mine):

New to this year’s competition, all categories will now be accepting spots that were delivered via IP stream to computers, mobile applications or any other Internet device. “As our industry and business moves forward with new digital platforms, it is not only appropriate but necessary for our industry awards competition to reflect the complete sponsored audio content space,” stated Jeff Haley, President & CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau, and Co-chair of the Radio Creative Fund.


This is a watershed moment. Here's a link to the announcement:
2010 Radio Mercury Awards Call for Entry is Officially Open Streaming Commercials Now Eligible for Entry

Radio Spot Loads - the Solution

Summary:

  1. The "Tipping Point" for terracasters is rapidly approaching

  2. Use Arbitron PPM data to test commercial load on your station

  3. Superserve your P1 audience now, before it's too late


Background

A lot of digital ink has been spilt on the subject of how many units of advertising a radio station can support without losing listeners. Sean Ross of Edison Research started the ball rolling last week with his article in Ross on Radio, "It's Time to Rethink your Spotload, Now." A follow-up was written by Jim Kerr, of Triton Digital Media, entitled "Spotloads, Perception, and Listener Tolerance."

Great points are made by both Tom and Jim. All radio people, whether "traditional" or "new" media types - need to pay close attention to how their spot loads effect listener behavior. For terracasters (I am floating this as a much easier term to use than "terrestrial broadcasters," or "traditional radio"), the problem is like a cancer. It's a small thing, poised to grow exponentially when the right set of circumstances align themselves.

The Issue

Right now, there are few realistic alternatives for most people who are in-car and listening to the radio. Sure, there's iPods, streaming Pandora through iPhones and Androids, Sirius/XM and good old fashioned cassette decks. But most people don't want to mess with this stuff. It's the blinking clock syndrome. It's hard enough to manage sending a text while you're driving, let alone mess with the rest of this stuff.

The tipping point comes when easy, straightforward access to alternative channels comes to the major environments where people listen to terracasters today. We are still early in the adoption curve. It will take about 4 years for this tipping point to occur. Why? Because mass-market automobiles are just now being introduced with these kinds of features in them. As they filter out into the market, more people will become aware of them and begin to use the technologies. By 2014, these cars will begin to enter the resale market en masse and THAT's when the tipping point occurs. When ordinary, average Americans can pick up a car with these technologies in the dashboard at their local "Ernie's Auto" corner car lot, the tide will begin to turn dramatically.
incar alternative audio adoption curve.png
This doesn't mean that terracasters have 4 or five years to figure out the commercial spot load thing. Today's behavior is a result of repetition of behavior from yesterday and the day before. Begin today to calculate the optimal spot load for your P1 listener group. How?

The Solution

Arbitron's PPM data provides the best solution for determining listener behavior on a granular level. Without spending tons of money on third-party software (you could, but you don't have to), you can use Arbitron's PPM Analysis Tool to dig deep into the behavior of your listener.

Running this test will take some guts. You'll have to very methodically tinker with your station's spot count, positioning, and other variables you think could effect a P1's behavior. You'll have to wait for the relevant PPM data to be released. You'll have to analyze it, then rinse and repeat. Run this kind of testing for 6 months or so. In the end, you'll know what the magic number is for your listener. The problem is, of course, that that number is only good for today. It will change over time, so you must repeat this test frequently.

If you start this process today, determine what your magic number is, and implement whatever business process is necessary to make sure that you implement the spot count limit by 2012, you should be well-prepared for the tipping point.

Or, you could just run a maximum of 8 minutes, spread 2-3-3 and be done with it.

Dilemma: Should I go to NAB this year?

Many of us are asking this question right now. Many more have already decided, one way or the other. After receiving an email from the NAB Show's PR agency, offering a free exhibit floor pass for posting about the show on this blog, I decided to give it some serious thought. So, I've researched the show, looked at the exhibitor list, trying to figure out if it makes sense to make the not insignificant investment to travel to Las Vegas on my own dime for this show.

The NAB has had its ups and downs. I have been to about 8 of them since 2000. The first was a mind-blowing event; the scale of the show was almost to much to grasp. This continued for several years, until the 2007 show. That's when the declining economy and other factors began to catch up and the NAB show began to contract. One signal was the departure of Apple as an exhibitor. Then came the 2008 show. It was nice because the halls were almost empty of people. But for exhibitors, it was a real disappointment. 2009 brought more of the same, but people expected it so they were prepared with low expectations.

So, I thought about 2010 NAB and wondered if this might just be an event in decline.

There's no way to predict what the attendance will be, but after reviewing the NAB's plans for the show on their website, http://nabshow.com/2010 , I have to say that this could be a very interesting event for anyone interested in the future of broadcast media.

What really prompted me to write this is the news that Shelley Palmer, media pundit and blogger, is going to keynote the technology luncheon. This choice of speaker puts a totally new focus on what the NAB is all about and makes me feel that they are beginning to "get it." Shelley Palmer writes over at Jack Myers' mediabizbloggers and at his own site, MediaBytes.

Oh - and they offered the same deal to readers of RadioEvangelist. So, if you're thinking of going to NAB 2010 and want a free pass that includes (according to the PR agency), "the exhibit floor, Opening Keynote and State of the Industry Address, Info Sessions, Content Theater and Destination Broadband Theater and Exhibits," then click this short link - http://ow.ly/13T8Q or register at http://nabshow.com/register with the code A913.

Enjoy! Maybe I'll see you in Vegas. Tweet your experience to @mediadude.

Pandora and Local Radio

Harker Research posted an interesting analysis a few weeks ago, comparing the ratings of Pandora to those of the typical terrestrial radio station. Here's the main point:

If we divide Pandora’s AAS by the US population, we’ll have their rating. The 12+ population of the US is about 256 million, so Pandora’s national rating is something like 0.1. It might be a little higher in some markets, a little lower in others, but on average Pandora has the same average listenership as a typical niche programmed AM station, ranked outside the top 20.


This ties into my earlier point about Pandora's time spent listening. There's a lot of tune-in to Pandora, but not a lot of stickiness.

Read the Harker Research piece here.



Pandora Listeners Do Not Seem to Listen Long

Ando Media released their January rankings of streaming audio entities last week. Pandora is on top of the heap in "session starts," with 100 million plus. Pretty impressive, even when you consider that this is as duplicated number and not an unduplicated measure like cume.

But the really interesting bit is that Pandora listeners spend less than an hour with the service for each session, on average. In comparison, Cox Radio's streaming listeners spend over two hours for each session, Saga and Citadel's spend considerably more than 3 hours.

There has been a lot of talk about the stickiness of Pandora, but these numbers expose the fact that the service is cool, but boring. People are finding that the streams from broadcasters like Saga, Cox, Citadel, CBS and Clear Channel are more than twice as engaging.

As more streaming moves from the home and office to the car, it will be interesting to see how these numbers play out. For example, will Pandora listeners bring their listening to the car? The stats will show those connections as additional session starts. For listeners of terrestrial stations who use the stream when in the office and listen to the same station in the car, the behavior might well be to forgo listening on IP devices and revert to the car radio. This will be a complicated behavior to measure; PPM is probably the only tool that can do it.

The complete pdf of the Ando Media January report is available by clicking this link.

Happy 2010!

Phil Bernstein is a blogger in Portland, Oregon. He's also an account manager with Portland's Clear Channel radio stations. And he writes about advertising. He's on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, too.

Writing about marketing so that his customers can see his thinking differentiates him from virtually every other radio sales person out there.

This is the kind of person that is the future of radio - forward thinking and ready to tackle the marketing of his customers businesses with some marketing of himself. Hats off to Phil!

http://philbernstein.wordpress.com/

House Committee to Review PPM

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is set to hold a hearing on Wednesday, December 2, to examine Arbitron's radio audience measurement device, the Portable People Meter (PPM).

The government's intrusion into the measurement of media audiences is fraught with problems, illustrated by this quote from the chairman of the committee - Congressman Ed Towns, from the second paragraph of the committee's announcement:

“With an unprecedented decline in ratings among popular minority television and radio stations, we must explore the possibility of methodological flaws in the implementation of the PPM,” said Chairman Towns. “As it stands now, the current system jeopardizes the future of minority broadcasting.”

Ed Towns.jpg


Congressman Towns, what connection would a "decline in ratings among popular minority television...stations" have to do with PPM? PPM only officially measures radio, and even if Arbitron did measure local TV, there could be no decline in ratings because there are no pre-ppm ratings from Arbitron to compare to!

Here's more from this press release - pay attention to the bolded portion in particular:

Chairman Towns served a subpoena to the Media Ratings Council (MRC) in September 2009 for documents detailing its oversight of Arbitron’s use of the PPM, after Arbitron forbid MRC from releasing documents related to the Committee’s investigation. Although Arbitron promised full cooperation with the investigation, the company prohibited MRC from providing the Committee with any documents related to the PPM. Furthermore, Arbitron provided the Committee with insufficient documents that were either publicly available or biased toward the company.


So - the Congressman wants more documents that are "...publicly available or biased towards the company?" Huh?

This hearing should be interesting. Not because the subject is particularly compelling, but because it may be an illustration of exactly why government shouldn't be involved with issues like the measurement of media exposure.

If Congressman Towns' and the Committee's statements are indicative of the way the hearing will proceed - discussions of why the PPM has reduced TV ratings and why Arbitron hasn't provided the Committee with more publicly available or biased documents - then Congress will have wasted valuable treasure of time and resources.

HD Radio and the iPhone - Not Quite There Yet

Ibiquity and a company called Gigaware yesterday announced an accessory for the iPhone/iPod Touch that brings HD radio to the device. You can pick up this little add-on at your local Radio Shack store (whatever happened to their plan to just call themselves "The Shack?) for about $80.

Here's a link to The Wall Street Journal's Lauren Goode article and her interview with Bob Struble, CEO of Ibiquity.

This accessory has generated a fair amount of buzz around the internets. Many people are saying that one of the major selling points of the new Zune is the HD radio inside. Before today, I can't remember anyone saying that.
GigawareRemote_270x183.jpg
This accessory is very similar to the analog FM radio accessory that has been available for iPods for years. It plugs into the accessory connector on the device. There's a tuning control that you can use to navigate the radio's presets which connects to the device through a wire. There's also an app that you install from the iTunes store - free, but necessary for the HD Radio to function. The HD Radio dongle has an iTunes tagging feature so that you can identify songs you wish to purchase later by clicking a button on the tuning control.

I own the standard iPod FM radio; it is useful on trips when I want to monitor local radio and I am not in a rental car. It has an RDS display right on the iPod - which highlights to me how poorly stations are at implementing this potentially extremely valuable tool.

So - the questions are, will people pay $80 for a radio in their iPhone when they can purchase a portable HD radio for $50? And - do people really care about having a broadcast radio receiver in their iPhone/Touch when there are so many other options available to them via iPhone/Touch apps?

My guess is that until the software that drives the HD radio is integrated with a streaming radio application in such a way that I can choose my over-the-air HD radio station or my streaming audio channel with the click of a pre-set, this won't be a very strong offering. There's a lot of potential power in this app that resides on the iPhone's desktop. Smart folks will figure out how to tap into it.

The physical clunkiness of the connection to the phone may also deter people from using it. The connection of the original iPod FM radio is almost exactly the same and I find that it's annoying. The wires get in the way.

However, it's a start. Let's see how this goes - maybe we'll be able to pick these up cheaply on eBay after Christmas!

A Missed Opportunity for WRNR

WRNR, a Baltimore/DC area alternative radio station, was a promotional sponsor of the 12th annual "Maritime Republic of Eastport Tug o' War," held this past Saturday in Annapolis and Eastport, MD.

I heard about the event on 'RNR and decided to go. It was a great afternoon of music, food and fun - including a tug of war between Eastport and Annapolis.

'RNR was there - with a logo-covered tent, a table with station merchandise, and lots of signage all around the venue. A fairly standard radio presence.

PB070883.jpg
PB070874.jpg
But - there was another media outlet there, doing something that the folks at 'RNR could have very easily done.

The Sailing Channel video streamed the entire event live on uStream!



The Sailing Channel?

'RNR could have done exactly the same thing - or, teamed up with The Sailing Channel - and really connected with their audience using a new media platform. All sorts of opportunities presented themselves - interviews with 'RNR fans, the artists who performed on both the stage in Annapolis and Eastport, personality appearances with the winners.

'RNR could have produced this, provided talent and imbedded the stream on their home page.

Radio needs to pay much more attention to these opportunities - or be marginalized by other media outlets like, well, The Sailing Channel.

Radio's future - sure seems like the past to me...

Mark Ramsey has more good stuff on his blog in a week than most people do in their lifetime. Today is no exception. He posts about The Most Important Thing You'll Read About Radio's Future this Year. I read this once and said, "Yeah!" Then I read it again.

It suddenly hit me that this is where we were back in the 80s. Marketers were pushing us to become more invested with their marketing. We built teams at stations focused 100% on developing non-transactional business. We called it all sorts of things, from NTR to Vendor. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of bright marketing-oriented people joined these teams either from the ranks of radio sales or from the greater marketing community. We developed relationships with food brokers, wholesalers, marketers at CPG companies, and small marketing teams consulting CPG companies. We learned all about in-store display, push vs. pull marketing, consumer promotion, floor plans, vendor-funded marketing programs. Millions of dollars were invested by radio broadcasters to support these programs and they began to return their investment. We did not sell using Arbitron numbers. We sold using the results of the last program. And, those results were terrific! So, we were able to get more and more marketing dollars for the programs and give up less and less inventory on the station.

And then something happened.

The advertisers said, "You know, let's go back to buying on Cost per Point. And, while we're at it, you can throw in all that extra stuff as a freebie for just getting on the buy." Radio managers caved. NTR/Vendor departments were decommissioned or turned into ghosts of themselves. Smart marketers left radio, were fired in consolidation moves, or they were sucked into the vortex of transactional radio business.



When I think about Mark's article and the points he makes,
1. Act more like a marketing company than a media company.
2. Be organized around an audience and not a platform.
3. Work directly with marketers.
4. Not just create spaces for ads next to content, it'll create whole media channels and platforms for brands
5. Employ technologists who can build device-agnostic platforms for marketers.
6. Know how to deliver instantaneous gratification when it comes to measurement, and it'll be measuring outcomes not outputs. A rating...stat is not going to be enough in the future, and certainly not when it's presented weeks after the fact.

I can't help but remember what these same marketers have done time and time again - when it suits their need, they go back to twisting radio's arm with commodity pricing. And radio lets them do it.

Don't let them do it again.

PPM, Politics, and Reality

In today's MediaLife, an interview by Diego Vasquez with Bernie Shimkus sheds light on much of the controversy surrounding the rollout of the PPM device. Shimkus is VP/Director of Research at Harmelin Media. Harmelin is one of the largest media buying services on the east coast. Based in Philadelphia, Harmelin's buyers and research team have been exposed to the PPM longer than people from other markets. As a media buying service, they have no ax to grind - they just want good, accurate data so that their clients can succeed.

In his interview, Diego Vasquez asks, "Are media people still concerned about charges that the PPM undercounts minorities? How much credence do you give these claims?" Shimkus answers:

Media people would be more concerned about those charges if they were based on hard, statistical facts rather than ulterior business motives.

Agencies and advertisers want accurate numbers that represent all groups as much as stations do.

Unfortunately, most of the claims about the undercounting of minorities just aren't true.

For example, the cume audiences for most ethnic formatted stations have increased significantly under the PPM methodology. Since by definition cume audience represents the number of different people a station reaches in a week, I don't know how higher cumes for minority stations translates into "undercounting."


Finally, Vasquez asks, "There have been groups and politicians trying to stop the rollout of the PPM. Do you think any of them will succeed eventually? Or do you expect the issue to eventually die down?" Mr. Shimkus answers:

For the sake of our clients, and the radio industry itself, we certainly hope not. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and even more political posturing based on that misinformation.

This is not an area that politicians should be inserting themselves.

And the radio industry would be better served to stop the bickering with Arbitron, and instead concentrate on using the wealth of new data the PPM provides to make a stronger case for why radio advertising is still an effective media channel for advertisers.


Read the entire interview here.

Are Podcasts Dead?

On Friday, Leo Laporte, founder of the This Week in Tech network of programs, spoke at the Online News Association conference in San Francisco. His comments and the questions from the audience afterwards can be seen here.

The speech is very interesting and it exposes Laporte as a true renaissance man. One of his more controversial comments is a statement that "Podcasting is dead." This is quite jarring, since it comes from the guy who many of us think as "Mr. Podcast" (OK, Leo, "Mr. Netcast"). He has built a very nice business by delivering 20+ podcasts weekly to an audience now in the millions worldwide. Leo goes on to say that he began to feel that podcasting was "dead" about a year ago and began building a streaming platform so that his network was prepared for the transition. Today, the TWIT Network delivers all its programming both through audio podcasts and via live streams. When there are no live programs to stream, they replay recently recorded programming on the stream.

Of course, he didn't mean that podcasting was history and that no one is listening anymore. Podcasting has reached a plateau in its growth. Leo noted that for most veteran podcasters, growth began to flatten out about a year ago. To grow audience beyond the people who are willing to put up with podcasting's current rather chunky user experience, a new archetype needs to emerge. Leo feels that this new archetype is a combination of live and on-demand streaming... different than podcasting's "store and forward" approach. New dedicated devices like the Roku will provide this kind of service to consumers. In fact, Leo said that he was teaming with Mediafly to provide his network's offerings on the Roku device.

Many people listen to podcasts right at their PC - either not realizing that they can go portable with their iPod or just not caring too. Many others take their content with them - to the gym, on the road, to work. I have found that loading up my iPod with programming that I want to listen to allows me - with minimal effort - to listen both at home and on the road. My TSL for broadcast radio dropped precipitously when I began doing this and it has not recovered. One of the reasons for this is content; however, the main one is convenience. I can listen to what I want, when I want. The broadcast radio over-the-air streaming model doesn't allow for that, yet, although the new iPod Nano is providing a baby step in that direction with the "pause listening" feature. On-demand streaming might, but only when the technology reaches mobile platforms.

On-demand streaming is coming - Flycast and other similar services provide a rich portable mobile experience, mixing live broadcasts with some "on demand." Until ubiquitous wireless broadband is available - and at a price that can be absorbed by the masses - this will remain a platform suffering from similar restrictions to growth that technologies like podcasting are experiencing. Some sort of local storage of content will be needed for some time to come. Many technical folks feel strongly that the wireless IP network is not yet up to the demands of delivering streaming content to portable devices. Today, with relatively few people (some subset of iPhone, Android and Blackberry users) accessing audio streams while mobile, it's not an issue. Globally, the iPhone has sold about 20 million units. That's just the population of New York. Imagine all 300 million Americans trying to stream audio at the same time! It's not a scalable model yet.

So - to answer my rhetorical question - no, podcasts aren't dead. Podcasts are just going through the same rapid evolutionary process as other delivery vehicles. Smart people, like Leo, are finding ways to augment the audience that the podcast delivery mechanism provides. Others are building alternative distribution channels to iTunes. The concept of podcasts will be with us for a while - until the practical application of technology provides a better solution.



Nielsen, Arbitron and the Upcoming Battle - Part II: Engaged

Several months ago, I wrote an article about the potential for battle between Arbitron and Nielsen. It was called "Nielsen, Arbitron and the Upcoming Battle." You can link to it here.

Since then, Arbitron announced its "ARB-TV" program and just last week the Financial Times broke a story about a new consortium of advertisers and agencies

In today's "Taylor on Radio-Info," Tom Taylor had a couple of paragraphs on this topic. He says, in part:

Now, #3, I’m hearing more concrete chatter about Area 51-kinds of research using an electronic detector much smaller than a PPM.


I thought to myself - "huh, top secret development? Didn't I post a link to the actual photo of the Nielsen Go Meter?"

So, I popped back to the article and - lo and behold - the link to the picture of the "Go-Meter" was broken. A Google search for "Go Meter" or the file name for the original picture turned up nothing. Any reference to the "Go Meter" has been (it seems) removed from the Nielsen website. Interesting.

So - Tom is right. Nielsen HAS gone stealth on its PPM attack project.

Also in his article, Tom mentions the idea of installing encoding software on a cell phone that would perform the function of a device like the PPM. There are many problems with using a mobile device like a cell phone as a measurement device for audience ratings. The biggest one is the instability of the platform. A measurement device for media audience ratings needs to work like a simple appliance. Having other applications running on the platform at the same time raises the possibility of instability exponentially. Thus, the whole platform could crash and detection of media exposure would stop. The way to avoid this is to use an imbedded operating system on a single-function device, like the PPM. These devices can be rock-solid stable with very high levels of reliability. There are also behavioral reasons why the cell-phone solution doesn't make sense, but this single technical reason is enough.

So - Arbitron and Nielsen are rattling sabers, but in a "muffled" way. It's clear that the muffles will be taken off the sabers pretty soon. Nielsen will attack Arbitron in the major markets with portable electronic measurement. Arbitron's move is to encroach upon Nielsen with its ARB-TV project and alignments with companies like TRA and Tivo.

Let the battles begin!