Nielsen Reports Lower Profits in Third Quarter

Watch business revenue up 0.8%
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Nielsen reported lower third quarter earnings as its troubled buy unit offset gains at its TV measurement business.

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Earlier this year, Nielsen announced that it was undergoing a strategic review that could lead to the sale of the Buy unit or a transaction involving the entire company.

Nielsen’s net income for the quarter fell 34.2% to $96 million, or 27 cents a share, from $146 million, or 41 cents, a year ago.

Revenue fell 2.5% to $1.6 billion, or 0.6% on a constant-currency basis, according to the company.

“The third quarter revenue and earnings are consistent with our updated 2018 guidance despite a number of near-term challenges in our markets. We have a number of key initiatives and actions that we are pursuing to improve our future outlook,” said Jim Attwood, executive chairman of the board. “Together with the board of directors, we are aligned on a set of operational priorities to drive the business forward. In addition, the Board of Directors, with the assistance of our advisors and management team, is focused on the expanded strategic review that we announced in September, which includes a broad review of strategic alternatives for Nielsen and its businesses.”

Revenue for Nielsen’s Watch segment, which includes its TV ratings business was up 0.8% to $845 million.

Audience measurement of video and text revenues gained 4.7%. The company said client adoption of its Total Audience Measurement system plus results at Gracenote were responsible for the increase.

Revenue for Nielsen’s buy segment dropped 6% to $755 million.

“In the third quarter, we continued to drive adoption of Total Audience Measurement. In Buy, we saw a continuation of challenging end market trends. The leadership team remains focused on executing key growth initiatives to drive improved results,” said Dave Anderson, chief financial officer.

“We are also making good progress on efficiency initiatives which are generating increased net productivity in 2018. Importantly, we are reiterating our 2018 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and GAAP EPS. However, we are lowering our 2018 free cash flow guidance from $550 to $575 million to $450 to $500 million due to continued working capital headwinds,” Anderson said.

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