Nielsen Rallies After Vowing to Overhaul Way It Tracks Audiences

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Nielsen Holdings Plc rose the most in a month after the TV-tracking firm delivered an upbeat forecast for next year and pledged to overhaul the way it measures audiences for the streaming era.

The company, which is holding its investor day on Wednesday, expects free cash flow of $580 million to $630 million in 2021. The midpoint of that range topped the $588.6 million average estimate of analysts. Nielsen expects organic revenue — a measure that strips out the effect of deals and other business changes — to rise between 3.5% and 4.5%.

Calling itself the “New Nielsen,” the company is rolling out a platform that ties together ratings from live TV and on-demand services. The approach, Nielsen One, will debut in 2022, with the goal of making it the industry standard by 2024.

The company looks to maintain its role as the key audience tracker for TV at a time when consumers are embracing Netflix and other streaming services, which are harder to measure. It also has been paring its operations. Last month, Nielsen agreed to sell a business that measures consumer insights to private equity firm Advent International for $2.7 billion.

“This is a transformative time for Nielsen,” Chief Executive Officer David Kenny said in a statement Wednesday. “We have redesigned our products, our business platform and our operating model, positioning Nielsen to better deliver the solutions our clients need in the rapidly changing global media ecosystem.”

The shares rose as much as 9.3% to $19.15 on Wednesday, marking the biggest intraday gain since Nov. 9. They had been down 14% this year through Tuesday’s close.

— With assistance by Katrina Lewis

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