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Arbitron Launches More Accurate Measurement For Radio Audiences

Arbitron, the leading provider of radio ratings, is moving beyond their paper diary record-keeping days, by offering radio advertisers a more accurate way to measure their audience. The New York company currently bases its audience estimates on paper-and-pencil record keeping by a selected group of listeners.

This summer a 50-city rollout of its �Portable People Meter.� It is a small device that can clip onto a belt, and will provide the most accurate measurement yet of which radio stations people listen to and for how long.

The People Meter automatically notes everything its wearer listens to in the course of a day, using encoding technology to recognize which radio station, or even which retailer�s in-store music, a listener heard.

Clear Channel Follows Suit

Similarly, Clear Channel Communications has announced they will test a new radio measurement device in its Houston market, a step toward putting Arbitron�s monopoly in radio audience measurement at risk. The new device is a mobile-phone based system developed by The Media Audit, a business of International Demographics of Houston, in partnership with Paris-based Ipsos. The system works by giving participants devices called Smart Cell Phones that track radio listening by picking up an encoded signal.

Although radio advertising was flat at $20 billion last year, radio executives argue that if advertisers understood how much radio people listen to, they would use the medium more.

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