As it looks to transition to new media businesses -- and selling off its big global marketing services unit -- Nielsen Holdings reported a 1.1% decline in revenues for the fourth quarter to $1.7 billion.
Net income was $35 million versus a net loss of $109 million in Q4 2019.
Nielsen Global Connect unit -- a business that will be sold to Advent International in partnership with former CEO of TransUnion James Peck for $2.7 billion -- slipped 0.2% in the fourth quarter to $800 million. For the year, the business slipped 4.2% to $2.9 billion.
The deal will help to pay down sizable company gross debt -- $8.3 billion.
In December at its investor day, the company announced plans to launch Nielsen One, a cross-media platform to include more metrics across platforms -- something advertisers and marketers have long called for.
Nielsen’s remaining media unit was down 2% for the quarter to $872 million. The bulk of this business -- audience measurement -- showed a slight 0.2% rise to $624 million.
The company says this decline was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted sports and “non-contracted revenue and ongoing pressure in local television.”
Its planning/optimization business -- part of its media unit -- showed a sharper decline of 7% to $248 million. The company says this was also due to the pandemic effect on sports, its Gracenote auto unit and “short-cycle revenue.”
For the full 2020 year, Nielsen revenues dipped 3.2% to $6.3 billion. Adjusting for the sale of Global Connect, it expects to see 2021 revenue growth of between 2% and 3% to around $3.5 billion.