Nielsen Touts Walmart Alliance, Revs Hit $1.4B

CalhounNielsen CEO Dave Calhoun said the company's recent deal with Walmart to collect and report the big-box giant's sales data as part of industry reports is "probably the most significant event to date" in the five years he's been with the company.

As to the Walmart agreement, Calhoun said "it just touches every part of our franchise," from clients looking for more precise data to the thousands of Walmart product suppliers and manufacturers to Walmart itself, which is looking for better insights on how to improve same-store sales.

Calhoun made his comments to analysts on a call reporting the media and marketing research firm's second-quarter earnings. The firm reported a revenue climb of 10% to nearly $1.4 billion for the quarter, although 5% of the gain was due to favorable foreign exchange rates.

Net income for the quarter was $69 million, down 7% from the same period a year ago.



For the first six months, revenues were up 8% to $2.7 billion, while the company reported a net loss of $112 million, due largely to charges of $206 million related to the company's recent IPO.

But while the Walmart agreement is a big deal, Calhoun said that Nielsen's revenue growth from the multiyear Walmart contract will not start for about 18 months, during which time the company will be building systems and processes to pull and disseminate the retailer's massive data. That means looking to 2013 before the deal starts paying off, he said.

The same is true, he added, for another important initiative that is about to kick off commercially: Nielsen's online campaign ratings service, which has been in beta testing for months. It formally launches later this month. Calhoun said that revenue from the venture wouldn't start to hit the books until 2012 -- and probably wouldn't really hit its stride until 2013 at the earliest, as the company strives to turn advertisers into customers of the service.

Queried about the online campaign's financial potential, Calhoun said he really didn't know at this point, although when pressed, he suggested it would be a major revenue center down the road in excess of $200 million annually.

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