Nielsen reported higher earnings in the second quarter.
Net income rose 15.9% to $131 million, or 37 cents a share, from $113 million, or 31 cents a share, a year ago.
Revenues rose 3% to $1.6 billion.
Revenues for the Watch segment rose 10.3% to $821 million. Excluding the acquisition of Gracenote, revenues for audience measurement of video and text increased 4.3%.
“Our revenue in the quarter reflects solid growth in Watch, robust growth in Buy emerging markets and the contribution from our recent acquisition of Gracenote.” said CEO Mitch Barns. “This was partially offset by continued softness in our U.S. Buy business which reflects the challenging operating environment for our large fast moving consumer goods clients. Our rigorous cost and commercial discipline in the quarter enabled us to deliver margin expansion, while also investing in our key growth initiatives.”
Analyst Todd Juenger of Sanford C. Bernstein noted that Nielsen earlier lowered its revenue guidance for the quarter, mostly because of its Buy sector.
But he added that Watch segment revenue was below consensus.
“The profile of maintaining earnings growth despite weak revenue is what we expect to see for a while. In fact, it seems to be the purposeful plan of Connected System. If all goes according to script, we expect the company believes it can manage earnings via margin through the revenue re-set, then eventually return to stronger growth (in 2019?) off a lower cost base. We (and the Street) believe the company can hope for the best, but needs to prepare for the worst,” Juenger said.
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