OUTDOOR AD GROUP TO CRAFT NEW RATINGS SYSTEM

Seeks Ways to Measure Demographic Makeup of Motorists

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- An ad industry group is teaming with Arbitron to develop an audience-measurement service for the outdoor industry to enable marketers to get a clearer picture of who -- not just how many -- are viewing their out-of-home displays.

This summer Arbitron and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America will test various methodologies to establish a ratings service for the $5.2 billion outdoor advertising industry similar to how other media such as TV or print keep track of demographics and reach.

Right now the out-of-home industry relies on counts of vehicles passing by an outdoor display. These counts, audited by the Traffic Audit Bureau, were done manually until last year's introduction of an automated system.

Although many marketers use outdoor -- as opposed to increasingly fragmented TV -- to achieve a broad reach, it's becoming more important to advertisers to target consumers with relevant messages. The goal of the new rating service is to provide information such as the marketers age, sex, gender, driving patterns and shopping habits of consumers viewing outdoor displays.

Arbitron and the OAAA are planning on conducting a more extensive test in Atlanta this fall, with results from the first consumer trial to be released in 2003.

Arbitron, a media and marketing research company, provides similar ratings services for the radio and TV industries.

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