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Arbitron loves small markets

From today’s All Access:

ARBITRON today (5/25) unveiled a small market program to increase the stability of radio audience estimates in 110 “condensed” markets. First, ARBITRON will include the in-tab diaries from the FALL and SPRING ’05 surveys in the FALL ’05 Book for the 110 condensed markets. Each report thereafter will be a “two-book average” of the most current and the previous survey, with double the current sample size for audience demographics and dayparts. ARBITRON VP/Marketing DENNIS SEELY said, “Our customers in these markets have consistently told us that stability from survey to survey is a paramount need. Working in conjunction with the RADIO ADVISORY COUNCIL and our customers, we’ve developed this program following almost two years of discussion and planning. We are effectively doubling the reported sample and increasing the reliability of the reported estimates and providing two additional reports per year, all without increasing the costs to our subscribers.”

I think “effectively” is the key word. This is the most appalling spin I’ve ever read. It’s like committing mass murder then issuing a news release celebrating the solution to the problem of overpopulation.

Double the sample and half the freshness means virtually no value at all.

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