Arbitron Inc. will work with the outdoor industry through the OAAA (Outdoor Advertising Association of America) on a comprehensive research program whose goal is to create an outdoor audience ratings service.
The test, planned to begin this summer will explore methods to enable Arbitron to develop an audience measurement service for the outdoor industry that conforms to existing ratings standards used by radio, TV, magazines and newspapers. The components envisioned for the new outdoor ratings service would include audience demographics; geographic definitions, such as Metro and DMA(R); audience estimates, such as reach, frequency and Gross Ratings Points; and frequent periodic reports.
Arbitron is planning to examine several different methodologies this summer to determine which to use in a more extensive test in Atlanta planned for this fall. The results of this major consumer trial will be released in first quarter of 2003 and examined for utility, reliability, scalability and quality of consumer compliance. Jacqueline Noel, director of sales and marketing for Arbitron Outdoor, and Pierre Bouvard, president of Arbitron's New Ventures division, made the announcement at the OAAA's Outdoor Media Day at the Metropolitan Club in New York.
Arbitron's decision to explore the development of an outdoor audience ratings service comes in response to the needs expressed by agencies, advertisers and outdoor media companies.
"The development of an outdoor ratings service will be a boon to the industry by providing clear evidence of its strength as an audience delivery device," said Nancy Fletcher, president of the OAAA. "On behalf of our members, we are very pleased to be working with Arbitron on this project. The company is highly respected by advertisers and agencies as a credible measurement service and should serve to increase the profile of the medium among advertisers and agencies."
This past spring, Arbitron interviewed 300 advertisers, agencies and outdoor media executives for its Outdoor Industry Needs Study. The results clearly indicated that an audience ratings profile of outdoor media consumers is needed. Agencies and advertisers urgently requested age, sex, and gender information for those exposed to outdoor advertising, as well as information on roads traveled in the past week and for data on the shopping and buying habits of consumers reached by outdoor media.
"Our Scarborough service provides an excellent way to obtain data on shopping and purchasing habits as well as major roads traveled," says Jacqueline Noel, director, Sales and Marketing, Arbitron Outdoor. "The ratings service we're planning to build will provide the other part of the equation. We would deliver information on age and gender and roads traveled, so that agencies and advertisers can get a complete picture of who is exposed to outdoor advertising."
Currently, the outdoor media industry provides advertisers with Traffic Audit Bureau audited counts of vehicular traffic. While an excellent starting point, the data details "how many" are exposed to outdoor advertising, but not "who" is exposed to the medium.
"One of the most critical attributes for media selection is the ability to target the advertisers' customers," said Andrea MacDonald, president and CEO of MacDonald Media and chairperson of the Traffic Audit Bureau. We already know that out-of-home media provides a great mass delivery opportunity. We are delighted that Arbitron will now enable us to utilize the media to specifically target various consumer segments."
"The outdoor industry is starting to step up to the plate to provide advertisers and agencies with an Outdoor audience measurement service they deserve," said Wally Kelly, chief executive officer, Viacom Outdoor. "We believe this audience service will be taken seriously and justify major investments in outdoor media."
"Advertisers feel it's important to reach customers as they plan their purchase decisions. Outdoor media is uniquely positioned to reach consumers when they're in the market ready to shop and buy, but to date we haven't been able to identify the audience we are reaching prior to purchases," said Kevin Gleason, chairman of the OAAA and CEO of Adams Outdoor.
"The new Arbitron service will help to solve this problem, by painting a more accurate portrait of on-the-go American consumers," said Paul J. Meyer, president and chief executive officer, Clear Channel Outdoor.
"Being able to see the many types of desirable consumers that outdoor reaches every day will go a long way in elevating the value of the medium in the minds of advertisers," said Kevin P. Reilly, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Lamar Advertising Company.
According to industry estimates, the outdoor advertising category now accounts for more than $5 billion in ad spending per year.