Nielsen ended 2011 with growth quarter


The consumer data “Buy” segment led the way, but revenues for the “Watch” TV ratings business also improved in Q4 for Nielsen. Also, the Watch segment had stronger growth in profitability. So CEO David Calhoun is a happy camper – and looking forward to more growth in 2012.

“Nielsen delivered solid fourth quarter results, with double-digit growth in developing markets and steady gains in all other regions,” said Calhoun. “We feel great about our first year as a public company and look forward to achieving continued progress in 2012.”

Total revenues for Q4 were up 4% to $1.42 billion – a 5% improvement on a constant currency basis. Adjusted EBITDA improved 7% to $432 million – or 9% on a constant currency basis.

Full year 3011 revenues gained 8% to $5.53 billion, or 6% constant currency, and adjusted EBITDA increased 10% to $1.55 billion, or 8% constant currency.

The Watch segment, primarily TV ratings, posted stable growth in Q4, with revenues up 3% to $504 million. Profitability improved 9% to $210 million.

“Our television was up 3% for the quarter, 4% for the year,” noted CFO Brian West. “Very steady, very consistent and as expected,” he added.

The larger Buy segment saw revenues gain 5% in the quarter to $896 million, while profitability improved 2% to $222 million.

The tiny Expositions segment saw Q4 revenues gain 17% to $21 million and profitability doubled to $4 million.

Looking ahead, Calhoun told analysts the company was dealing with a positive environment in the United States and a very tough environment in Europe. “But we see revenue growth between five and seven percent, EBITDA margin growth between 30 and 50 basis points,” he said of 2012. Nielsen is projecting that earnings per share this year will be $1.70-1.76, up from $1.61 in 2011.

RBR-TVBR observation: Steady growth in revenues, somewhat faster growth in EBITDA and gradual de-leveraging. Is it any wonder that Nielsen was recently named a top IPO of 2011 by Forbes magazine?