Monday, October 27, 2008

Arbitron vs. New York State

Thrown out!

According to the judge the states case raises "important state interests." In short, the AG's case alleges Arbitron is guilty of fraudulent and deceptive business practices and civil rights violations. [All Access posted the full text of the judges opinion here.]

In a release Arbitron SVP/Press & Investor Relations THOM MOCARSKY said, "Today's ruling does not impact ARBITRON's right to publish our PPM audience estimates in New York. We went to Federal Court seeking to protect our right to provide the radio industry with the up-to-date PPM audience estimates it needs. Following our efforts, the New York Attorney General chose not to seek a temporary restraining order adversely impacting our right to produce PPM estimates.

"Now that ARBITRON has commercialized the PPM service in NEW YORK and other key markets, we look forward to defending our interests. Broadcasters, agencies, and advertisers need continual PPM audience estimates if radio is to remain competitive in an increasingly complex and crowded media marketplace."

Fraud, deception, and civil rights violations? Let me be understated here. Really? What? Over the years Arbitron has gone out of its way to fairly (some might say more than fairly) appropriately represent minority listeners. What changed? Why now?

I'm the last person to give Arbitron a free pass. I'm not saying PPM is perfect. It seems to me that stating that the state has an important interest in radio ratings is troubling. Why?

It's fair game to challenge Arbitron on panel size, ethnic balance, and other key components relating to PPM. Aside from the lawyers there are no other guaranteed winners in this case and only serves to tarnish the already hurting radio industry even further.