BBM plans overnight TV ratings

In a little more than two years a new electronic measurement system already in 'human factor' testing in the u.s. promises overnight information on consumers' exposure to tv and radio. BBM Bureau of Measurement and New York-based Arbitron have joined forces...

In a little more than two years a new electronic measurement system already in ‘human factor’ testing in the u.s. promises overnight information on consumers’ exposure to tv and radio.

BBM Bureau of Measurement and New York-based Arbitron have joined forces to produce the first passive people meter system that will automatically record what people are watching or listening to.

Owen Charlebois, president and chief executive officer of bbm, told a Toronto press conference the audience measurement co-operative’s $500,000 investment in the passive people meter (ppm) should begin to pay off in the spring of 1995 when broadcasters in two Canadian markets begin sending coded signals to the pocket pager-sized device.

Diary system

Charlebois could not confirm what those markets will be.

He says in major- and second-tier Canadian markets the cost of the ppm will compare with the cost of the diary system of measurement.

Two U.S. markets will also see the introduction of the ppm at about the same time they come to Canada, Charlebois says, adding BBM will be the sole licensee of ppm data in Canada.

bbm says the passive people meter, by being independent of a radio or a tv set, makes continuous monitoring of exposure to electronic media possible; all the respondent has to do is wear the device.

Charlebois says for first-generation ppms only, tv or radio programming will be coded, although he expects with later generations commercials will be coded, too.

Two U.S. companies with strong technological ties to the American military, Martin Marietta Aero and Naval Systems in Middle River, Md. and Diamond Bar, Calif.-based Intellisys, will engineer the receiving devices and coding system. DC