Q2 revenues fell 5.9% for The Nielsen Company, but the company nonetheless managed to grown operating income. The Media segment, including the US television ratings business grew revenues 11%, or 3% if you factor out acquisitions, but that made it the only division to post growth.
First the good news for Nielsen. Media division revenues rose 11% to $475 million and adjusted operating income rose 40.3% on a constant currency basis to $109 million. The division had both acquisitions and divestitures in the past year, so revenue growth excluding that impact was 3%. CFO Brian West noted that the syndicated media business, that’s what we call ratings and related research products, was up reasonably in the quarter (up 15.2% to $407 million), while the entertainment business sagged (down 15% to $32 million). Online was nearly flat (down $1 million, or 3.3% to $36 million). West was particularly proud of the operating income growth, calling it “another reflection of the productivity we were able to execute in the quarter and the first half of the year.” Nielsen’s new US radio ratings business is still so small, and dwarfed by the still growing TV business, that it wasn’t even mentioned in West’s discussion fo Q2 results.
Nielsen’s largest unit, Consumer Services, saw revenues fall 11% to $661 million, but with adjusted operating income up 13.5% to $92 million.
And then there’s the Business Media division. Revenues were down 31.2% to $91 million, which was a 25% drop excluding publications no longer there. Adjusted operating income fell 70.8% to $9 million. Nielsen’s titles include Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek, Mediaweek and Brandweek. “There you see no top-line at all and a lot of pressure. The publication business is down 30%…similar to what we see in the industry,” said West. Although the trade show business also saw revenues down double digits, the CFO said that part of the division is expected to improve as the recession ends.