VNU, the Netherlands-headquartered media and research giant, saw its revenues sink 5% in the half-year to June 30, a result that had more to do with the weak US dollar than a slippage in sales.

Cash earning, however, showed a healthy increase, especially at ACNielsen which added both clientele and market share during the period.

And revenues at VNU's 65%-owned internet measurement unit, NetRatings, accelerated at a double-digit rate, reflecting increased demand and improved business conditions.

Reporting on progress in the USA, chairman/ceo Rob van den Bergh claimed: "Nielsen remains on track to expand its coverage of the television marketplace by increasing the size of its national TV ratings sample and rolling out its Local People Meter service, despite the public debate."

Group EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) rose to €215m ($265.61m; £144.1m), a year-on-year increase of 7%, rising to 17% on a constant currency basis.

VNU's gross income of €1.834 billion (versus €1.939bn in H1 2003) reflected the impact of currency fluctuations, while net earnings also declined 12% from €103m to €91m. On a constant currency basis, however, they would have remained flat.

Data sourced from: Daily Research News Online and VNU; additional content by WARC staff