Arbitron continues to make progress in their effort to measure out-of-home television viewing. Pierre Bouvard, Arbitron’s Executive Vice President, says up to 35% of Americans are watching TV out-of-home, and stations aren’t getting credit for out-of-home viewing using the existing ratings system.
But, thanks to Portable People Meter (PPM) technology, TV networks and stations will soon be getting credit for total viewing, not just at-home viewing.
The PPM was developed by Arbitron to more accurately measure the number of people watching TV. The device is carried like a pager and picks up audio codes hidden within a station’s broadcast. So, it doesn’t rely on viewers to punch a button or write in a diary to record their viewing habits. The meter does all the work.
TBS (Turner Broadcasting) was the first client to sign with ARB-TV, and during the MLB Playoffs discovered the value of out-of-home audience measurement.
According to Arbitron, the out-of-home viewership of the baseball playoffs increased the total audience size by 27% for adults 25-54.
Sports fans in bars are just part of the story. When the PPM was tested in Houston, Arbitron noted significant out-of-home audiences in every demo daypart, including women 18-49 during daytime hours. During the test period, a 17% audience increase was reported for W18-49.
ARB-TV reveals the top places for out-of-home viewing are:
1) Friend’s House
2) Bars & Restaurants
3) At Work
The important thing to remember is that out-of-home TV viewership is not currently measured and not reflected in the ratings that stations provide their clients. From a media planning standpoint, that’s not good.
However, until there’s a new ratings system firmly in place to measure out-of-home viewership, retail advertisers will continue to reach viewers they’re not paying for … and in this economy, that’s not bad.
Enjoy it while it lasts.