Nielsen's Media Business Remains Solid, With Revenues Stable, But Connect Spinoff Delayed

Nielsen’s first quarter witnessed continued stability from its traditional media ratings business, but its marketing services continued to struggle.

This left the media measurement company with near flat revenue results --- $1.56 billion versus $1.53 billion in the same period a year ago.

Nielsen’s Global Media division, focused on audience measurement and planning data, grew 2% to $842 million. Its troubled Global Connect division, focused on marketing data, slipped 2.7% to $717 million.

Todd Juenger, media analyst for Bernstein Research, says the company's media business held up better than expected, according to Bernstein estimates. He added: “The most important question of all is: how will core Media revenues hold up over time, and upon renewals, as pressure intensifies on legacy TV media companies which still represent the majority of Nielsen's revenue base? The theoretical answer should be ‘fine’. TV companies need Nielsen's help more than ever.”

The company posted a net loss of $13 million, versus a net income of $47 million in the first quarter of 2019.

Early Thursday, with more trading, Nielsen stock was up 6.3% to $14.78.  A Nielsen filing said senior executives have agreed to pay cuts of up to 20%, with independent directors agreeing to reduce cash compensation  by 30%.

Nielsen now says it plans to complete the spinoff of Nielsen Global Connect by November 2020 due to state government shutdowns.

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