Arbitron Inc., the research company that provides the ratings on which most U.S. radio advertising rates are based, plans to use new technology to increase the accuracy of its audience data. For nearly 35 years, Arbitron has collected data by having individuals fill out paper diaries documenting their radio listening habits. Needing to replace the outdated system to stay in business, Arbitron will be testing out "portable people meters." The beeper-like devices electronically measure every radio, television and cable broadcast a person takes in. Arbitron participants would be required to wear the meters during all of their waking hours for six months to a year. According to the Wall Street Journal, "If left dormant for about 20 minutes, the meters, which have motion sensors, are designed to blink rapidly. If that happens too often, users will receive a call from Arbitron. At night, the meters will sit in cradles that transfer the day's input to Arbitron."
Arbitron To Try "Portable People Meters" For Measuring Radio & TV Audiences