Arbitron Announces Termination Of Nielsen Media Research Option For PPM Joint Venture
March 1, 2006 at 3:18 PM (PT)
ARBITRON announced the termination of NIELSEN MEDIA RESEARCH's option, under a MAY 2000 agreement, to join ARBITRON in a commercial deployment of the PPM radio and TV ratings service. Today's announcement allows ARBITRON to shift its focus to creating a PPM ratings service for radio only. NIELSEN has expressed interest in using the PPM for out-of-home TV measurement to their existing television ratings services.
ARBITRON President & CEO STEVE MORRIS said, "Although we saw some economic benefits to our customers from a joint venture, the termination of the MAY 2000 option now gives ARBITRON complete flexibility to meet the needs of our customers in terms of when and at what speed we deploy the PORTABLE PEOPLE METER as an audience ratings system in the UNITED STATES."
MORRIS also said, "Now that we no longer have the obligations that came with the Nielsen option agreement, we are free to focus our resources on the best PPM ratings services possible for the U.S. radio industry. Our goal is to secure a critical mass of stations and agencies to allow us to go forward rapidly with the deployment of the PORTABLE PEOPLE METER system for radio audience measurement in the UNITED STATES.
Meanwhile, the termination of NIELSEN's option with ARBITRON does not affect ARBITRON AND VNU continuation of its marketing research "PROJECT APOLLO" pilot panel.
In the wake of these develpments, the company now expects that Earnings Per Share (diluted) for the year ending DECEMBER 31, 2006 to be between $1.65 and $1.70. ARBITRON's year-end 2006 revenue guidance is unchanged. As previously stated, year end 2006 revenue is expected to increase between 6% and 8% compared to year end 2005.
Commenting on the updated guidance, MORRIS said, "We have spoken often of our commitment to bring electronic measurement to radio with or without NIELSEN as a joint venture partner. Our forecasts to date have reflected both those possibilities. Now that NIELSEN MEDIA RESEARCH has not exercised its option, we are refining our 2006 Earnings per Share guidance to reflect the previously anticipated financial impact of commercializing PPM on our own."
ARBITRON has an investors conference call scheduled for THURSDAY, MARCH 2nd at 11a (ET).