The separation, first announced last June, gives Arbitron the ability to focus on its core businesses -- including audience measurement and radio research -- while investing in newer initiatives like Webcast ratings, which measure streaming audio listeners, and the Portable People Meter, a radio, television and cable TV audience measurement system. Arbitron opened today under the symbol ARB.
As Arbitron shares hit the market, the company is facing an uncertain future with its biggest client, Clear Channel Communications, which represented 22% of Arbitron's revenue in 2000. Although Clear Channel extended its contract with Arbitron to obtain its Winter 2001 survey, the radio broadcaster has announced that it does not intend to renew its contracts for ratings surveys in 130 markets currently under negotiation.
Arbitron President-CEO Steve Morris in a teleconference would not speculate on the outcome of these discussions, but he said, "We are going to move forward to find a satisfying conclusion for [Clear Channel] and for us." -- Cara Beardi
Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.