Arbitron really sucks. Yes, that’s still true. However, six months after I posted that and to my amusement, my statement was included in a blog entry by Dave Paulus, GM of Saga in the Norfolk market, who referred to my post when blogging in support of Arbitron’s PPM device.
Why do I care? Well, I don’t, really. But someone posted a link to my site who purchases services from a company that does, well, suck, and I wanted to know why. So, off into link world I dived! I wasted some time wandering around Jabo’s Media’s Web site where they claim they’re the bomb. Buried in a press release, information about Arbitron’s continuing quest to bother people with the promise of some pitance of a reward for good behavior indicated they’ve been bothering cell phone users, as we’re an important and growing demographic.
So how do you ensure someone’s being a good tool, besides offering them a free cup of Starbucks Expresso? Well, with an electronic collar, of course! Arbitron has recently begun deploying these in Texas, called PPM, which have a built in motion sense to ensure you’re actually wearing it during the survey period and not just leaving it in a room with the radio blaring the usual crap it plays to so you can get your free cup ‘o joe. The PPM, or Portable People Meter, scans the airwaves for cute secret codes embedded into the music from your radio — and possible your TV in multimarket surveys — included transparently in music played on the radio in an area near you. I’m not sure what’s more freakish, the audio watermarking or the fact that people will willing sign up for a collar for a free cup from Starbucks!
What’s any of this have to do with Christmas? Not much, except an unfortunate survey confirmation that in the Houston market, and apparently everywhere else, more people listen to radio when annoying Christmas music is played over, and over, and over, and over, and over… you get the idea. I generally switch to static during the December months, as rehashed Christmas music is generally more annoying. I only listen to Jazz in the car anymore during my commute, as Jazz stations tend to have the lofty goal of not pissing off listeners with an excessive number of commercials, continuous repeats you’ve heard for the past twenty years, and other such nonsense.
Oh, and Arbitron, you suck!