Most of the conversation in the quarterly conference call for Nielsen Holdings was about the recent deal with Wal-Mart, which was for the Buy division of the company, which compiles sales data. Buy led the quarter in revenue growth, but Watch – the TV ratings business – was up as well and grew profits more.
Total revenues grew 10% to $1.4 billion. Adjusted for currency fluctuations that was 5%, so CEO David Calhoun called it a “solid quarter.”
Watch revenues were up 3.5% to $447 million, which was just under 1% growth on a constant currency basis. TV measurement grew 3.8%. CFO Brian West noted that the comp for 2010 included the US radio ratings business, which has since been shuttered. “If you take radio out of last year the [constant currency] growth rate for Watch would be about three and a half percent,” he told analysts.
Income for the Watch segment increased 12.1% in the quarter to $185 million, or 10.8% on a constant currency basis.
Buy segment revenues rose 13.9% to $911 million, a gain of 7.2% on a constant currency basis. Segment income rose 9.6% to $194 million, up 3.2% on a constant currency basis.
Only the smallest segment, Expositions, had a down quarter. Revenues were flat at $38 million and income declined 7.1% to $13 million.
For all of 2011, Nielsen is telling Wall Street to expect revenue growth of 5.7%, with net income up 20-25%.