NEWS29 October 2010

Revenue down, losses up in Harris Interactive’s first quarter

Financials North America

US— Revenue decreased and losses mounted for Harris Interactive during the first quarter of fiscal 2011 – but CEO Kimberly Till remains confident that the firm is well placed to turn a profit for the full year.

Sales for the three months ending 30 September fell 5% to $37m and operating losses more than tripled from $0.4m to $1.3m.

Till (pictured) said the firm was hit by the loss of tracking studies during the 2010 fiscal year, but she noted that bookings increased 8% during the most recent quarter and that these would convert to revenue in the coming months and act as “a base from which we can achieve revenue growth for the full fiscal year”.

The US was “gaining traction”, Till said, with Q1 bookings up 18% but revenue in the region actually fell 4%. Harris said that this was due a 90% decline in public affairs and policy sector work due to lower spending by clients.

In Canada revenue dropped 1% but a hotel-related data collection project in the country helped push bookings up 9%.

Revenue in the UK fell 15% due to the delay of a large-scale tracking study, but Harris said that the client will be “doubling up on the tracking” during the second quarter of the year. Bookings in the country fell 21% during the period.

There was better news in Europe where revenue rose 6% in France and 21% in Germany with new clients signed up “across several sectors”.

Asian revenue was also up by 13%, but bookings in the region fell 14% “as the result of a focus on rebuilding the Asian team”.

Till said: “Looking ahead, I believe that we are well positioned to achieve revenue growth and profit growth for the full fiscal year, as the progress we’ve made in executing the key initiatives within the phases of our roadmap should translate into improved financial performance.”

She added that the new Lifestreaming product, an opt-in service that analyses panel members’ social media activities, had helped drive new sales. The firm plans to introduce new products such as brand tracking, digital advertising effectiveness and social media monitoring tools that “sit on top” of the Lifestreaming tool.