Fourth-quarter revenues sank 5.8% to $1.66 billion, with its two key business units seeing lower results. This result was slightly better than analysts expected.
The Nielsen Watch business -- its TV/media measurement business -- was down 3.5% to $881 million. The division’s main business -- the audience measurement unit -- slowed to a 1% improvement, to $631 million.
Going forward for 2019, the company expects growth of 2% to 3%.
Gains in audience measurement were due to rising client adoption of its Total Audience Measurement system.
Its Buy unit -- Nielsen’s marketing data division -- was down 8.4% to $777 million. Developed market business was down 8.5% to $482 million, while emerging markets were 4.9% to $289 million.
Nielsen points to “continued pressure on spending from large multinational clients and competitive impacts in the U.S.”
Nielsen has announced that Buy and Watch are being rebranded as Nielsen Global Media and Nielsen Global Connect, respectively.
Global Media's two main businesses will be Audience Measurement and Plan/Optimize; Global Connect will contain Measure and Predict/Activate.
This was announced by David Kenny, Nielsen’s new CEO.
With regard to a possible business sale of the company, Kenny said: "The strategic review is ongoing and the board is working with urgency on this process. As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen's Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company.”
Nielsen posted a net loss of $5 million -- a reverse from the $81 million net profit in the fourth quarter of 2017. The decline is due to an impairment charge.
For 2019, Nielsen says overall revenue growth will be flat to up 1.5%, with cash flow -- earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- of between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion, posting margins of 28% to 29%.
Nielsen stock was up 3.3% on Thursday to $26.18.