Now an ethical debate is brewing over Voltair, and whether it is right to tinker with the PPM encoding process.
One pundit even likened Voltair to steroids, suggesting that using the box was not playing by the rules!
Even if there were some validity bringing ethics into the debate, accusing Voltair of the sin is misguided.
Every broadcaster who writes a fat check to Nielsen every month deserves to get accurate rating estimates of station listensership. Everyone.
Now we have concrete evidence that Nielsen is not giving you accurate estimates. Maybe you’re getting 70%, maybe you’re getting 90%, but in all likelihood, you’re not getting 100%.
Voltair gets you closer to the goal of 100%. That’s all it does.
If you are going to get morally indignant, direct your indignation at Nielsen, not Voltair.
As I pointed out recently, everyone who has tested Voltair has kept it. That’s more than 300 stations.
Are the 300 stations using Voltair not playing fair because they want the ratings to reflect 100% of their listening?
It seems to us that it is fiduciarily irresponsible to accept estimates that fall well short of 100% accuracy once you have reason to believe that Nielsen is under-reporting your numbers.
That’s particularly true if other stations in your market are using something that gets them closer to 100%.
Invoking fairness, playing by the rules, and steroids is a straw-man argument made by people who don’t understand PPM, don’t understand its shortcomings, and don’t understand Voltair.
Can you think of any sport that hasn’t gotten better through innovation over the last decade? Do you think that every innovation was cheating?
Are you still using typewriters to write copy? Still using carts for commercials because you think digital gives an unfair advantage?
Are you still using the same audio processing that you used a decade ago?
We believe that Nielsen should bear the cost of fixing a flawed technology that is potentially costing radio billions of dollars. They should integrate Voltair technology into a new generation of encoder, a device that is essentially unchanged from the 1990s.
However, in the meantime you have two options:
Either buy into the fairness argument, don’t buy the box, and watch other stations in your market move past you in the rankers, or bite the bullet, buy the box, and hope that one day Nielsen will reimburse you for the expense.
The choice is yours.
If you’re just getting up to speed on the Voltair debate, or maybe don’t even know what it is, here are links to previous posts that will bring you up to date. The order is latest to oldest:
As we have noted in the past, we have no financial incentive in this matter or business relationship with 25-Seven. The column at the right of the blog explains our philosophy, and we believe bringing these issues to light is consistent with our philosophy.