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Second Coming Of Aero; Nielsen Nears End Of Strategic Review

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Second Coming Of Aereo

Fox, NBCU, ABC and CBS filed a suit against Locast, a nonprofit streaming service that retransmits local network feeds. Locast is funded partly by AT&T and Dish, the two largest pay-TV companies, and the broadcasters allege that the nonprofit group serves a clear commercial purpose because it helps AT&T and Dish avoid paying to carry their channels, The Wall Street Journal reports. The TV networks also say Locast strips out vital information like Nielsen codes that determine show ratings and ad prices. While Locast is free, it makes donation requests and “promises that the commercials will abate if viewers commit to the recurring monthly ‘donation.’” It also has valuable data that it uses as currency with commercial operators. “(Locast) collects commercially valuable data about its users’ television viewing habits while offering that data as an enticement for other commercial players to support Locast with infrastructure or other assistance,” according to the suit. More

Let’s Review

Nielsen remains in a protracted strategic review that could end in an all-out sale of the company or the spinning off of certain divisions. CEO David Kenny told investors on Nielsen’s Q2 earnings call on Wednesday that there is finally an end in sight: Nielsen expects to conclude its review by next quarter. In the meantime, Nielsen is continuing to focus on “driving improved results,” Kenny said. And speaking of, the results were half-decent this quarter. Although revenue fell 1.2% to just over $1.6 billion, Nielsen beat expectations and, on a constant-currency basis, revenues were up 1.2%. Cool, but can we talk some more about that strategic review? Investors lobbed numerous questions at Kenny to try and get more color, without much success. Kenny did share that Nielsen has been able to use the review as an opportunity to learn more about how to improve its operations. “Having a deep dive has certainly made us stronger as a company operationally,” he said. Read the release.

Stream On

Spotify beat expectations Wednesday, reporting revenue growth of 31% year over year to roughly $1.8 billion. Programmatic revenues grew 71% in the quarter to account for 30% of ad-supported revenue at the company. Monthly active users were up 29% to 232 million, with 31% growth in premium subscribers. There wasn’t one big event that led to Spotify’s good quarter, but rather continued investment in “a lot of small things that add up to a much better experience,” CEO Daniel Ek said on the earnings call. Spotify is still pushing aggressively into podcasts, which it says is accretive to music listening. The company, which bought podcast production house Gimlet and DIY podcast platform Anchor in February, is seeing traction across true crime, music and news shows and is “actively developing better and better machine learning models” to fix podcast discovery, said CFO Barry McCarthy. Read the release

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