As more radio listening occurs via streaming on mobile devices, the issue of whether Nielsen's portable people meters are adequately capturing headphone listening has taken on greater importance.
First generation meters required panelists to connect their mobile device to the meter with a short jumper cable, and then plug their earbuds into the meter itself. Newer PPM360 devices allow direct connection to headphones. Nielsen says the PPM360 headphone adapter is easy to use and is provided to every panelist, along with coaching on how to use the adapter. Nielsen reports that more than 85% of its national PPM panel is currently using the PPM360 and it expects to be close to 100% by the end of the year.
Improvements notwithstanding, some broadcasters aren't convinced that the new headphone adapter is a slam-dunk. "Headphones still present a huge problem because panel members don't use that silly dongle that's supposed to capture the headphone listening," says Cox Media Group EVP of radio Kim Guthrie, who serves as vice chair of the Advisory Council. "If you're 20 years-old, you're not going to drag that to your office and plug it in."
According to Guthrie, Nielsen has developed a solution to better capture headphone listening but has yet to demonstrate it.Read More Now (Subscription Required)