It's difficult to find a lot of happy Arbitron stories these days, but today's announcement that "cell phone only" measurement is going to become standard operating procedure in the diary system starting with the Fall 2009 survey period is great news for everyone involved in under-34 formats.
This has been a major Jacobs Media initiative since our first Tech Poll in '05 shined the spotlight on this problem. Thanks to the efforts of many broadcasters, Arbitron got the message that CPO is an issue that needed to be addressed.
As we reported in this space after last month's Consultant Fly-In, the CPO challenge will now be handled by Arbitron, thanks to an innovative solution from their Dr. Ed Cohen who has long been cognizant of problems with youth and diarykeeping. The new system has obviously passed muster in their research filtering process. This bodes well for youth formats that have been plagued by having some of their best listeners passed over in the diary process.
If you're running an Alternative station, just conduct a set of Listener Advisory Board groups recruited from your database. And ask your respondents how many don't have a landline. It's mind-boggling, and a reminder about how difficult a challenge this has become.
So the next time you hear someone in the next cubicle or on a conference call whining about Arbitron, remind them about this "Cell Phone Only" victory. Arbitron has successfully addressed a key issue - without the benefit of MRC pressure or an FCC or Justice Department investigation.