Arbitron reports Q1 gains


Revenues were up 5.2% in Q1 for Arbitron, producing an 18.2% increase in net income. The company is sticking with its guidance that earnings per share will be up 16-25% for all of 2011.

Folks at Arbitron are still celebrating the recent good news that the Media Rating Council (MRC) had accredited 11 more Portable People Meter (PPM) markets.

“In the first quarter, we earned Media Rating Council accreditation of the data produced by our Portable People Meter service in 11 additional markets. Thanks to the impact of our continuous improvement programs on the quality of our samples and services, a total of 14 PPM markets now display the MRC ‘double checkmark’ symbol,” said Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr, pictured, ahead of his quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts.

“We also made progress in our cross-platform initiatives. CBS and Turner Sports used our PPM out-of-home ratings service for the 2011 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship to demonstrate the significant lift that away-from-home television viewing can deliver. And, as previously announced, the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement selected Arbitron for a proof-of-concept pilot to measure television, Internet and mobile users.   Both of these initiatives provide tangible evidence of the traction and credibility we believe we are gaining in this rapidly evolving marketplace,” said Kerr.

Q1 revenues were up 5.2% to $100.9 million, while costs were up only 1.5% to $71.8 million. Net income was up 18.2% to $16.2 million, or 59 cents per share, compared to $13.7 million, or 51 cents per share, a year earlier. EBITDA increased 16.1% to $33.9 million.

“For the balance of 2011, we still expect revenue to grow faster than costs. Because we have fully commercialized the PPM service in all 48 markets, we anticipate margin expansion as our costs stabilize and as we continue to benefit from the phase in of pricing for our PPM service,” said Kerr.

For all of 2011, Arbitron is projecting that revenuers will be up 6-8%. Earnings per share are expected to rise 16-25%, which would put it between $1.90 and $2.05.