Nielsen Reports Weak Quarterly Results, Down 2.5%

Amid possible strategic changes at the company -- including some business asset sales -- Nielsen posted another round of soft revenue results.

Fiscal fourth-quarter revenues were down 2.5% to $1.60 billion, with net income 34% lower to $96 million.

The Nielsen Watch unit, the company’s TV and media measurement unit, inched up 1.4% to $845 billion, but its cash flow -- adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization) -- slipped 2.8% to $377 million.

The company's other big business -- Nielsen Buy, a consumer data product for advertisers -- had weaker results, down 2.7% in revenue to $755 million. That unit’s adjusted EBITDA was in steep decline, down 20% to $109 million.

Some positives: At Watch, audience measurement from video and text grew 5.2%. The downside was that marketing effectiveness business was 10.1% lower and audio measurement sank 1.6%.



Nielsen executives noted that Nielsen Buy investments in its Total Audience measure were driving mid-single digit growth among national TV clients.

Nielsen Buy says that despite its weakness, there is stability when it comes to international developed markets. The division has seen softness when it comes to it U.S. business.

Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group, wrote: “It would be a surprise if the Buy segment returned to growth in the face of the uncertainties associated with a strategic review. ... Competition from the likes of IRI probably won’t let up and a reinvigorated comScore adds further risks to this outlook.”

He added: “However, at the same time, we also continue to hear favorable perspectives on Nielsen versus its competitors from customers and continue to believe they are held up as the ‘gold standard’ versus its peers.”

The company’s stock dropped nearly 10% over the last five days. It was down 2.4% in early Friday morning trading to $24.40.

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