Arbitron Co., New York, announced plans to start testing in the fourth quarter a new audience measurement device. The company's Portable People Meter is a pager-size device capable of detecting inaudible codes that broadcasters embed into the audio of their radio or TV programming. The device, when recharged daily, sends the codes to Arbitron for tabulation of broadcast and cable usage. The U.S. pilot follows successful field tests in Manchester, England, over the past two years. The initial field test will use 300 meters in the Wilmington, Del., radio market. A year later, Arbitron plans to increase the sample size to include the rest of the Philadelphia market. Arbitron said Nielsen Media Research will provide financial support and TV survey expertise for the field test. Nielsen also has the option to join Arbitron in the eventual commercial deployment of the device.
Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.