Nielsen Is Bullish on Enhanced CBET

Chief Engineer and Audio Managing Director blog about PPM measurement system
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NEW YORK� Nielsen Chief Engineer Arun Ramaswamy and Nielsen Audio Managing Director Brad Kelly write that since February 2015, average quarter hour audience for audio has grown 13% in portable people meter markets among persons 6 and older. �This year-over-year growth in audience reflects a significant improvement in our PPM measurement system,� they claim.

PPM has been at the heart of industry controversy involving embedded audio �watermarks.� Its accuracy came under heightened scrutiny when 25-Seven Systems introduced its Voltair monitor/processor to much hullabaloo last year.

Nielsen then announced plans for a �significant enhancement� to CBET, introduced in the fourth quarter of that same year. Some 3,000 U.S. stations now have enhanced CBET � about three-quarters of subscribers, Nielsen said, and about 80% of minutes measured by PPM.

Just last week, the makers of Voltair�put out a statement�that �still provides broadcasters with a significant ratings advantage...��Now comes Nielsen�s blog post and the accompanying graphics, one of which is shown at right. The authors said they intended their enhancements to bring audio metrics in line with other media and better reflect a complex consumer environment.

�We�ve found that enhanced CBET makes the PPM codes stronger and more robust, which improves code detection in challenging acoustic environments such as low volume and/or high background noise conditions,� wrote Ramaswamy. He said enhanced CBET was �thoroughly tested in the lab and the field� before deployment, with feedback �from a team of technical experts from various radio groups.�

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Nielsen reported that field testing found an average increase of about 15% in AQH audience compared with the prior version among tested stations.�The company cited not only 13% year-over-year gain in listening among persons aged 6+, but found double-digit growths among millennials (aged 18�34) and the �buying demo� of people 25�54 (see first graphic). It said gains were seen in each of the major format categories compared to last year.�

They conclude that their enhancement �brings audio metrics closer to how other media are measured and is better suited to today�s more complex media landscape, benefiting both broadcasters and advertisers. And it levels the playing field...�

The company also highlighted its new Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings service.�

A version of this article appeared on the website of Radio World, sister publication of Radio magazine.�