NEWS26 October 2010

Arbitron profits slide as ‘cautious’ radio clients stay on the sidelines

Financials North America

US— Arbitron has posted a 17.4% drop in profits for the third quarter of the year in the face of what president and CEO William Kerr called a “cautious” radio marketplace.

Profits were down to $11.3m compared to $13.7m in the same period last year, but the firm saw a modest revenue increase of 1.4% to $99.5m from $98.1m in 2009.

Arbitron said that revenue had been boosted by the commercialisation of its portable people meter (PPM) technology in 10 new markets during the quarter, but this was offset by those clients who had signed up its radio ratings services in 2009 either reducing or not renewing their contracts this year.

Costs and expenses were up 7% to $78.6m from $73.5m, which Arbitron attributed to costs relating to the commercialisation of the PPM technology and investment in schemes to recruit more 18-34 year olds into its PPM and diary samples.

Arbitron said that it was lowering its revenue guidance for full year and now expects its revenue increase to “be near the lower end” of the 2-6% rise it had earlier forecasted.

Kerr (pictured) said: “In the third quarter, the radio advertising marketplace continued its recovery from the severe advertising recession of 2009. At the same time, radio broadcasters remain cautious in this still uncertain economic environment. This uncertainty has kept some of our customers on the sidelines in terms of discretionary services and contract renewals.”