E Diary: Seeing the news today that Arbitron is killing the E Diary after only 2 months in the field is concerning. The Winter book was the first roll out for the E Diary where the sample was offered the option of filling out the diary on-line instead of using the paper and pencil version. You can see the news in this blog http://mcvaymediarocks.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html.
WHY? Arbitron claims that it hurt response rates and they caught it in time to put out extra diaries in Phase 3 of the Winter and save the sample return.
I hope Arbitron will be looking into why the E Diary hurt the return and try to find a way to do something to update the old fashioned diary method. Yes going to People Meters would end the diary altogether but remember that PPM is a very expensive option and will only be used in the top 20 markets as it is phased in over the next 2 years. Will PPM move beyond market 40 or 50 in the next 6 years? I would bet NOT.
4-5 years from now filling out a diary of your listening will start to look like going back to quill pens or stone tablets to most of the sample that is under 40 years old if we already haven't hit that point. There needs to be something - maybe a cell phone based web system option or perhaps a new procedure in the E Diary that doesn't hurt the return.
PPM: The system is now LIVE in Philly and will be in Houston in just a few months. The analysis of the early results in Philly and Houston shows that Rock radio format may be in for some good news when it comes to listening levels with PPM.
Measuring with the PPM vs Diaries does cut out some of the 'listening bias' we have seen from Hispanic and African American diary keepers. Many of these diaries has some 'heritage bias' in them with the diary filled out with lots of TSL to Hispanic and Urban stations. Now that PPM is in place and recording the listening with no bias or diary inflation we are seeing Rock stations moving up. You can see a full breakdown of the PPM system on the McVay Media web site
Too bad PPM will probably never be in more than the top 50 markets. We are creating a dual platform ratings system that will hurt the lower ranked markets as their data will soon look so outdated that many buyers will just focus on the big markets and leave them for dead.