While Spanish Broadcasting System has pulled the encoders from Arbitron’s portable people meter system, Univision Communications is finally plugging back in. As of 5 a.m. Thursday (April 1), Univision’s stations in Miami, San Diego, Phoenix, San Antonio and Las Vegas began encoding their signals after months of going without ratings.
That’s good news to advertisers and agencies that have had to estimate ratings for Univision’s radio stations since last summer when the Spanish-language broadcaster decided not to encode or subscribe to the service.
Though Univision stations may be back in the ratings, an Arbitron spokesperson was unable to confirm whether Univision has decided to subscribe to the PPM ratings service in those five markets. Univision only subscribed to the PPM ratings service in Houston, one of three markets accredited by the Media Rating Council. It continued to encode, but not subscribe to the PPM service in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Jose (Calif.) and Dallas.
Univision was not immediately available for comment.
If Univision had continued not to encode in Miami, its stations, along with SBS’ outlets, would leave the market without ratings for about 30 percent of the listening market.
SBS’ refusal to encode was not without its consequences. With less than three weeks of encoding its signals during February, SBS station ratings took some big hits, more than 30 percent in New York and Miami, for example.
Arbitron has been in a constant struggle with minority broadcasters that claim the PPM methodology undercounts minorities. Earlier this week, SBS pulled its encoders from its 9 stations in five markets when a New York Supreme Court Judge lifted the temporary restraining order that required SBS to continue encoding while Arbitron and SBS head into mediation.