Nielsen Co. CFO Brian West said in the company's earnings call that the charge was a “reflection of continued revenue declines.” The business media unit generated $82 million in revenue in the third quarter, a 28.6% decline from $115 million in the same period last year.
During the call, West gave mixed signals about Nielsen's intentions regarding The Hollywood Reporter. He responded to a question about the rumored sale saying: “For assets that don't hit the mark, we're always looking to work them out of the portfolio.”
Later, he appeared to shift course: “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.”
McGraw-Hill has followed a long-term strategy of shedding advertiser-supported products in favor of information businesses. The weak performance of McGraw-Hill's information and media segment offers support for the strategy. In the third quarter, revenue for the segment declined 10.1% to $238.9 million compared with the same period last year.
But the sale of BusinessWeek, the company's flagship brand, appears to take McGraw-Hill's commitment to limiting its exposure to cyclical advertising businesses to a new level.
But not every big company, of course, is exiting the magazine business. Bloomberg, the new owner of BusinessWeek, is wading right in. M