Arbitron reported that Q1 revenues were down 2.6% to $95.9 million. Even so, net income rose 11.4% to $13.7 million, or 51 cents per share.
The company attributed the revenue decline to the defection of Cumulus Media and Clear Channel to Nielsen’s sticker diary service in a number of smaller markets, as well as Univision’s refusal to subscribe to the Portable People Meter (PPM) service in recently deployed markets. However, those declines were counterbalanced by increased payments by other broadcasters in the 33 markets where PPM has been commercialized.
“Our results in the first quarter do not fully reflect the progress we have made in our PPM commercialization plan. We remain optimistic that an improvement in overall economic conditions will positively impact the advertising marketplace, which could favorably impact our customers and our own business,” said CEO Bill Kerr in a statement prior to his telephone conference call with Wall Street analysts.
“One of my top priorities has been to resolve responsibly the concerns of the PPM Coalition regarding PPM methodology. Today, the Coalition and we announced an agreement for enhancements to our recruitment methodology that are designed to be a net benefit for all our PPM customers. My thanks go to Chairman Edolphus Towns and to the Media Rating Council for their roles in advancing this agreement,” Kerr said of the long-sought settlement.
“Our priorities for the balance of 2010 are straightforward. We will work toward the completion of the commercialization of the PPM ratings service. We will continue our programs that are designed to improve key sample quality metrics for our PPM and diary services. We will continue our efforts to obtain and maintain Media Rating Council® accreditation for our services across all of our markets and we will continue our efforts to further develop our cross-platform measurement capabilities,” Kerr said. “While we are encouraged by recent improvement in the overall economic environment and in the radio industry in particular, we also know that it will not turn around overnight. However, we are committed to working with our customers to help position the radio industry to benefit from the recovery as it may occur,” he concluded.
Arbitron reiterated its full year revenue and EPS guidance for 2010. The company does not provide quarterly guidance. For the full year 2010, Arbitron expects revenue to increase 2-6% compared to the 2009 revenue of $385.0 million. Earnings per share (diluted) for the full year 2010 are expected to be between $1.50 and $1.75.