Nielsen Q4 Improves, Total Audience Business Grows

Nielsen Q4 Improves, Total Audience Business Grows

by Wayne Friedman, February 9, 2017

Nielsen Q4 Improves, Total Audience Business Grows

Nielsen Holdings reported somewhat better-than-expected fourth-quarter financial improvement.

Fourth-quarter revenues were up 2% to $1.66 billion, with net revenues sinking 37% to $160 million. Lower profitability was due to unfavorable comparisons to the fourth quarter of 2015, which had significant gains as a result of an increased stake in Nielsen Catalina Solutions.

Nielsen’s stock was 2.7% higher after Thursday’s close to $43.18.

Nielsen’s Watch business — its media audience measurement and analytics services — grew 5.8% to $788 million in revenues. The company’s audience measurement business from video and text improved 8.4%, given continued business deals for its new Total Audience Measurement system.

Despite a somewhat rocky start this year for its new Total Audience measuring system, Mitch Barns, CEO of Nielsen, says: “With the approach of the 2017 upfronts, our Total Audience system is ready to play a key role for our clients.”

Brian Wieser, senior research analyst for Pivotal Research Group, said about Nielsen’s Buy business: “The conventional media measurement business is being reinforced through efforts around Total Audience Measurement.”

He added that there was “reluctance of some networks to embrace the program as it currently stands… offset by its complimentary nature to the still-essential national TV measurement business.”

Wieser estimates that business from Nielsen’s U.S-based national TV ratings and local TV ratings services is about 20% of company revenue.

As part of its Watch business unit, audio revenues decreased 1.6%; its marketing effectiveness business improved 6.4%.

Revenues within Nielsen’s Buy business unit — consumer purchasing measurement and analytics services — slipped 1.3% to $868 million. Developed markets fell 1.4%, including some softness in the U.S. Search Marketing Daily