Nielsen Grows 'Watch' Business, Aided By Renewals

Nielsen continues to gain revenues from its "Watch" business --  its TV viewing measurement services -- for its recent reporting period. A big tax charge lowered its stock price on Thursday.

Revenues grew nearly 16% to $913 million in its fiscal fourth-quarter period. Its "Buy" business -- marketing/consumer data -- slipped 2.3% to $848 million. Total revenue improved 6.3% to $1.76 billion.

“'Watch' matters much more to the value of the company,” writes Todd Juenger, senior media analyst of Bernstein Research in a note.

“The big drama heading into 2018 was the Sinclair [Broadcast Group] renewal, which ended calmly with a press release on Feb 1. After Sinclair, Tribune also renewed.... [then] the bear investment thesis changed to ‘OK, Sinclair renewed, but at what price?’"

Last year, Sinclair -- the largest owner of U.S. TV stations -- considered the idea of dropping Nielsen in favor of comScore. Instead, the company now has deals with both TV measurement companies.



All this seems to be good news for Nielsen. Juenger muses: “If Sinclair didn't drop Nielsen in this circumstance, who will?”

Mitch Barns, CEO of Nielsen, touted that 'Watch' continues to make gains with its Total Audience Measurement system. Nielsen says its “Buy” division suffered from “continued softness in our U.S. market.”

Net income declined 49% to $81 million from $159 million, due to a recognized $104 million tax charge during the period. Excluding this, net income increased 18.2%.

Mid-day trading of Nielsen Holdings was down 6% to $35.28.

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