Arbitron to Measure Podcasts


Arbitron recently used its Portable People Meter technology to measure podcast listenership. In mid-July, the measurement company encoded some podcasts from Clear Channel's Z100 which listeners using PPM-enabled headsets downloaded and played. Arbitron's Portable People Meter President Pierre Bouvard said, "Podcasting is a very different distribution system for traditional radio and the successful test of the PPM should further build confidence in how well it works with all types of audio programming. The state-of-the-art encoding system used in the PPM does a better job of identifying alternate distribution platforms and time-shifted audio content than any other approach to portable electronic audience measurement that we've seen." Inevitably, just as is now happening with television spots, podcast ads will be tagged and measured as well.

by Steve Hall    Aug-25-05   Click to Comment   

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I may be a little slow here, but how can an audio signal from my i-pod that plays in my ear, get picked up by a measurement device that hangs from my belt. While Arbitron is claiming this will work, I have to believe that they are a long way from making it any sort of reality.

Posted by: Barry Edison on August 25, 2005 2:42 PM


The downloaded podcast is embeded with a digital marker which is then registered by special headphones. Just like Nielsen survey bases agreeing to use the People Meter in their homes and participate in Nielsen's measuring of TV, so do these people who agree to where the special headphones which register the listenership and then that info is presumeably uploaded to the survey company by the user.

Posted by: Steve Hall on August 25, 2005 4:14 PM

They're completely missing the people who listen without headphones, which ultimately yields inaccurate results. Plus, it looks like Arbitron is trying to claim podcasting is somehow still radio... when it simply isn't. Audio content is only radio if it is broadcast over radio waves, and podcasts don't use radio waves for distribution.

Posted by: pylbug on August 26, 2005 10:20 AM's's a's in its infancy. All that will be worked out. I just think it's great that what matters is now being measured: the ad.

Posted by: Steve Hall on August 26, 2005 1:13 PM