Nielsen Reports $952M Net Loss For Fourth Quarter

Nielsen reported a fourth quarter loss as it wrote down the value of its ailing Buy unit.

The company also announced a new structure with the company divided into two segments, Nielsen Global Media and Nielsen Global Connect. The Global Media will include Audience Measurement and Plan/Optimize. Global Connect will have Measure and Predict/Activate.

Last year, under pressure from shareholders, Nielsen announced a strategic review that could lead to the sale of all or part of the company’s businesses.

David Kenny, who was named CEO after the review began, said the process is ongoing. ”The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders,” Kenny said.

Nielsen’s fourth quarter net loss was $952 million, or $2.68 a share, compared with net income of $81 million, or 23 cents a share, a year ago.

The most recent quarter includes $1.4 billion in impairment charges regarding its Buy segment, tax items and $8 million in costs related to the company’s ongoing strategic revenue. Excluding those items, earnings per share would have been 28 cents, the Nielsen said.

Revenue was down 5.8% to $1.658 billion.

Revenues for Nielsen’s Watch segment, which includes its TV ratings business, decreased 3.5% to $881 million. Revenue from Audience Measurement of Video and Text increased 0.8%. The company credited continued client adoption of its Total Audience Measurement system for the gains.

Revenue for Nielsen’s troubled Buy segment were down 8.4% to $777 million.

For 2019, the company expects net income to be between $240 million and $300 million, and revenue to be flat to up 1.5%.

"2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019. I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company's history,” Kenny. “Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions. We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients."

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.