NEWS13 August 2009

Core data business gives Nielsen ‘stability’

Financials North America

US— Stability in its core data businesses and cost-cutting measures are helping Nielsen weather the recession, finance chief Brian West said today as the company reported a 6% decline in second quarter sales to $1.23bn.

Revenue in the consumer services segment was down 11% to $661m – a decline of 0.8% after currency effects are stripped out. Customised research and panel services were hardest hit, down 9% and 5% on a constant currency basis, while retail measurement – which accounts for two-thirds of segment revenue – posted growth of 0.6%.

Media revenue was $475m, up 14% in constant currency, though the bulk of this growth came from acquisitions including AGB. Removing their contributions, growth was 3%. Nielsen Media Research, Online and Mobile divisions all recorded positive performances, but Entertainment revenue was down 9.2%.

Analysts were cheered by huge improvements to group and segment operating income – the result, West said, of restructuring actions taken last year which saw 2,700 jobs axed.

Job cuts continued this year, though at a slower rate than previously. Year-to-date, West said, $11m had been paid out in severance, with $6m of that paid to employees of the media division who lost their jobs during the second quarter.

Adjusted operating income – excluding restructuring charges – was up 29% to $92m in the consumer services segment, and up 40% to $109m in media.

Revenue in Nielsen’s business media publications and events division was down 30% to $91m.