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Nielsen reports lower revenue

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New York—Nielsen Co. announced Thursday that its third-quarter revenue totaled $1.25 billion, down slightly from $1.26 billion in the year earlier period. The operating loss for this year’s third quarter was $393 million compared with an operating income of $124 million in the year-earlier period.

Operating results were negatively impacted by a $582 million charge related to the impairment of goodwill and intangible assets. The company said that $180 million of this charge was attributed to its business media unit, which publishes Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter.

Nielsen CFO Brian West said in the company’s earnings call that the charge related to the business media unit was a "reflection of continued revenue declines." The business media unit generated $82 million in revenue in the third quarter, a 28.5% decline from the $115 million in revenue generated in the same period of 2008.

During the call, West responded to a question about the rumored sale of The Hollywood Reporter by saying he wouldn't comment on rumors, but he did add: "For assets that don't hit the mark, we're always looking to work them out of the portfolio." However, later in the call he said: "Our strategy has always been for our prime core iconic brands—Billboard, THR, etc.—where those brands are very strong in their class, where they've got online capability, where they've got an opportunity to go right at the consumer, and there's a trade show element to them—those are going to be the ones we're going to continue to work through this cycle, because those are the kind, once this turns around, those are going to win, largely by the strength of the brand itself."

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