Nielsen Reports Higher First-Quarter Profits

Revenues up for TV ratings business
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Nielsen reported that its first quarter profits were up, buoyed by higher revenues for its Watch segment, which calculates television ratings.

The company also increased its cash dividend for stockholders by 11% to 31 cents a share.

Net income rose 60% in the first quarter to $101 million, or 27 cents a share, from $63 million, or 17 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenues rose 2% to $1.487 billion.

“Nielsen’s strong first quarter results were underpinned by our steady and resilient business model, which drove 5.2% constant currency revenue growth, continued margin expansion and strong earnings growth,” said Mitch Barns, CEO. “Our Watch segment grew 6.3% on a constant currency basis due to meaningful progress with our Total Audience Measurement framework and notable growth with our precision targeting and analytical solutions within Marketing Effectiveness.”

Nielsen is rolling out new products at a faster pace as it faces new competition in the U.S. TV market from comScore, which acquired Rentrak earlier this year.

Related: comScore Delivers First Cross-Platform Ratings to Clients.

Revenues for Nielsen’s Watch segment increased 5.2% to $694 million. The company said audience measurement of video and text revenues increased 7.5% due to continued client adoption of its Total Audience Measurement framework. Marketing Effectiveness revenues rose 28.8%.

“As we look to the year ahead, our business will be driven by three key factors. One, we are leading industry discussions on the adoption of a new currency metric fueled by our Total Audience Measurement framework,” said Barns. “Two, the value of audience segmentation and precision marketing is increasing and our unique set of analytic capabilities, bolstered by our recent launch of the Nielsen Marketing Cloud, position us well to provide clients with metrics to help improve performance. And three, we continue to make progress on our plans for a platform-based system that aligns and connects our wide array of measurement and analytics data for our fast-moving consumer goods clients.”

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