Arbitron Ratings For All Would Be Good For All

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Arbitron, the radio ratings company, recently sued non-Arbitron subscriber Saga Broadcasting for allegedly using ratings to sell advertising. The ratings company has been progressively vigilant in enforcing its protection of unauthorized distribution of its audience data. Arbitron recently has been purchased/merged with Nielsen.

Please take a moment to click through to this website:

Walter SaboYou see TV Nielsen ratings. Nielsen, as you know, is the TV and radio (in Australia) ratings company that is merging with Arbitron and has cool offices in lower Manhattan. TV BY THE NUMBERS breaks out the TV Ratings any way you could imagine: By demo, show, cable, syndication, network. If you want a number you don’t see, simply email the site’s founders and they’ll get it for you.

What is the source of their information? “Various data sources,” it says in their ABOUT section.

Readers Participate Like A Sport

Cancelled or NOT is a popular section of TV BY THE NUMBERS, which predicts which TV shows will be renewed. Viewers get information months ahead about the viability of shows.

In the comment section of TV BY THE NUMBERS you’ll see public comments about which shows should be cancelled and which shouldn’t; which shows are worthy of a petition drive to be kept on the air despite the ratings and which blow.

Readers debate how shows could be improved and how to grow ratings. The public participates in the ratings conversation of television through this site and it brings them closer to television and their choice of shows.

Who put this site together? The TVB? Nielsen? Nope. Here’s what the site says:

“TV by the Numbers launched in September 2007. The site was founded and is run by Bill Gorman and Robert Seidman, who have been friends since the early 1990s.”

Two friends. Not officials, not authorized. Two TV Fans fascinated by ratings. In 6 years they have not been shut down for revealing granular Nielsen data. The TV industry knows that the discourse about SUBSCRIBER ratings on this site is good for television.

Wouldn’t that be great? Listeners seeing radio ratings and watching the ebb and flow of their favorite hosts and formats on a website that freely shows ARBITRON ratings?

The results of an open publication of all radio ratings would be new engagement from listeners and advertisers. Right now there is so much industry whining about listener apathy toward radio, positive actions would be appropriate.


Here are a few, you’ll think of more:

• Listeners would become aware of stations and formats they didn’t previously know about.

• Advertisers and listeners would be surprised that in many cities, an AM station(s) is number 1.

• Listeners would become acquainted with the business of radio on an easy to understand level. They would discuss it with their friends in retail and advertising, and push for radio support would come from a broader base.

• Open radio ratings would put radio on the same playing field with TV, and TV is having a BANNER REVENUE YEAR. (No, that’s not because of re-trans fees from cable, only losers raise that flag.)

To make sure I wouldn’t be embarrassed, I searched RADIOBYTHENUMBERS.COM. Nothing. Then I went to GODADDY.

Amazingly, I just bought RADIOBYTHENUMBERS.COM. It’s shocking that it’s available. No, I didn’t write this to promote a site I own – calm down. I wrote this because it is hard to understand why Nielsen is so open about its results and Arbitron is like Verizon. The merger with Nielsen will hopefully change their policies.

Walter Sabo is the Chairman of Sabo Media, a company that offers executive-on-demand services. He has worked on-site to build out new digital content platforms such as Sirius/XM. His team was the first to discover the marketing clout of web stars, Internet organic video producers. They founded OMMA award winning HITVIEWS. The company placed brands such as CBS, TiVo and Mountain Dew inside UGC. In FM broadcasting he is a leader in the profitable sector of FM Talk and held executive positions at NBC and ABC Radio. He can be reached at

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