The Spanish Radio Association was invited yesterday to attend the New York City Council meeting to testify about the adverse effect of the Portable People Meter (“PPM”) methodology on the broadcasting community and the constituents that it serves. Speakers included Frank Flores, Vice President and Market Manager for Spanish Broadcasting Systems in New York; James L. Winston, Executive Director and General Counsel of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Inc; Charles Warfield is President and Chief Operating Officer of ICBC Broadcastings Holdings, Inc.; Ceril Shagrin, Executive Vice President of the Corporate Research Division for Univision Communications, Inc.; and Joseph S. Miller, Earle K. Moore Fellow, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council.
This meeting was held the day after the New York Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo launched a formal inquiry into Arbitron, Inc. and its use of the PPM methodology for determining radio audience share in New York State. The FCC is considering making an inquiry into the PPM methodology, which the SRA continues to strongly believe is flawed and thus adversely impacts true and accurate measurement of radio audiences by misrepresenting and under-sampling minority listeners. At the same time, the SRA finds it deeply disturbing that Arbitron is persisting with the commercialization of an unaccredited methodology (except for Houston) because it is a cost-issue, which they clearly admitted in yesterday’s New York City Council Meeting.
In yesterday’s testimony, Frank Flores stated, “The real truth is that the Spanish Radio Stations will be further challenged in this new world because our ratings will be 50-60% less, which translates into 50-60% less revenues. In a market that has more than 4 million Latinos who hail from 21 different countries (with 21 distinct cultures), who can now listen to at least 5 Spanish language radio stations, will now have a choice of two – or maybe three. Simple business mathematics will rule that only the strong will survive.”
Charles Warfield stated, “Despite failing to achieve accreditation from the Media Ratings Council, the independent body responsible for evaluating the accuracy and reliability of Audience measurement data, Arbitron announced that it intends to continue the commercialization of its new PPM service. Arbitron’s unaccredited methodology produces unreliable and inaccurate measurement data. The continued, unabated rollout of PPM data by Arbitron will result in huge financial losses for radio stations serving the Black and Hispanic audiences and might even force some stations out of business. For ICBC Broadcasting Holding, this is a Civil Rights Issue. This is about survival. The commercialization of flawed ratings data will directly affect the ability of current owners to service debt, repay debt, employee staff and serve the communities we live in and are committed to serve.”
Joseph Miller said, “The implementation of a flawed PPM methodology would be akin to dropping a financial nuclear bomb-what the MMTCF estimates to be around $500 million in annual lost revenues-on America’s minority radio stations. PPM’s flawed methodology threatens to drive advertising dollars away from minority-owned stations-a slap in the face of minority broadcasters. It is absolutely critical that we give Arbitron’s PPM methodology an appropriate level of scrutiny and skepticism. The stakes are too high. The PPM Coalition does not argue against the need for laser-sharp metrics. It simply requests the presentation of potentially devastating effects of Arbitron’s flawed methodology.”
Ceril Shagrin commented, “Arbitron’s proposed new system risks inaccurately counting Hispanic radio listeners. Sample size in PPM is smaller than the diary service which limits the ways the data can be used. PPM may require larger sample sizes in order to provide stability of the data and accurate representation of ethnic populations. Arbitron sets its goals too low. They set an overall standard of 75% of persons 6+ providing usable data and 60% of persons 18-34. That is not acceptable for currency data. Managing an ongoing panel is not the same as a weekly diary service. The quarterly diary measurement was an average of 12 different weekly sample. In PPM if the sample is not representative, users must live with that sample for months. [Panelists may participate for up to two years]. These estimates become the currency with which radio is bought and sold. Spanish radio will not continue to exist if our currency is counterfeit.”
The SRA applauds New York City Council for its concern on an issue that could greatly impact minority communities. The SRA believes that Arbitron has a fundamental misunderstanding in regards to the community aspect of Hispanic and Urban stations. Indeed, one of the core values of diversity is service to the community. Thus, the fact that Arbitron has created a methodology that requires broadcasters to change their programs to accommodate the data and gain more ratings in order to survive and prosper, will hinder them from serving New York’s vibrant Hispanic and African American Communities. Flores concludes, “We are talking about potentially silencing our community that is something we cannot let anyone do. Not now, not ever.”
About Border Media Partners
Border Media Partners owns and/or operates 30 radio stations in five Texas markets including San Antonio, Austin, the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo, and Waco.
About Entravision Communications Corporation
Entravision Communications Corporation (NYSE: EVC) is a diversified Spanish-language media company utilizing a combination of television and radio operations to reach Hispanic consumers across the United States, as well as the border markets of Mexico. Entravision is the largest affiliate group of both the top-ranked Univision television network and Univision’s TeleFutura network, with television stations in 20 of the nation’s top 50 Hispanic markets. The company also operates one of the nation’s largest groups of primarily Spanish-language radio stations, consisting of 48 owned and operated radio stations. Entravision shares of Class A Common Stock are traded on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol: EVC.
About Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc.
Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. is the largest publicly traded Hispanic-controlled media and entertainment company in the United States. SBS owns and/or operates 21 radio stations located in the top Hispanic markets of New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Puerto Rico, including the #1 Spanish-language radio station in America, WSKQ-FM in New York City, as well as 4 of the Top 8 rated radio stations airing the Tropical, Mexican Regional, Spanish Adult Contemporary and Hurban format genres. The Company also owns and operates Mega TV, a television operation serving the South Florida market, owns and operates a station in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale DMA (WSBS) Ch. 22, and an affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fl (Ch. 57/Comcast 231). Mega TV also has national distribution in the US through DirecTV Mas (Ch. 405). The channel can also be seen in Puerto Rico on DIRECTV (Ch. 169), and through affiliate WSJU (Ch. 30). SBS also produces live concerts and events throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In addition, the Company operates www.LaMusica.com, a bilingual Spanish-English online site providing content related to Latin music, entertainment, news and culture. The Company’s corporate Web site can be accessed at www.spanishbroadcasting.com.
About Univision Radio
Univision Communications Inc. is the premier Spanish-language media company in the United States. Its operations include Univision Network, the most-watched Spanish-language broadcast television network in the U.S. reaching 97% of U.S. Hispanic Households; TeleFutura Network, a general-interest Spanish-language broadcast television network, which was launched in 2002 and now reaches 85% of U.S. Hispanic Households; Galavision, the country’s leading Spanish-language cable network; Univision Television Group, which owns and operates 63 television stations in major U.S. Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico; Univision Radio, the leading Spanish-language radio group which owns and/or operates 70 radio stations in 16 of the top 25 U.S. Hispanic markets and 5 stations in Puerto Rico; and Univision Online, the premier Spanish-language Internet destination in the U.S. located at http://www.univision.com Univision Communications also has a 50% interest in TuTv, a joint venture formed to broadcast Televisa’s pay television channels in the U.S. Univision Communications has television network operations in Miami and television and radio stations and sales offices in major cities throughout the United States.