Viacom beats revenue estimates on film unit strength

Viacom, owner of MTV, Comedy Central, along with Paramount, reported mixed quarterly results Thursday as higher-than-expected revenue in its film unit along with enhanced domestic ad sales offset lower revenue through U.S. cable TV operators along with online distributors.

Like additional media companies, Viacom has struggled to boost ratings along with advertising as viewers increasingly watch their favorite shows on electronic devices along with phones.

Revenue through Viacom’s film unit, which includes theater along with licensing revenue, grew 2 percent to $789 million through a year earlier.

However, domestic affiliate revenue fell 3 percent to $948 million from the quarter. Analysts had expected a 1.8 percent drop, according to financial data along with analytics firm FactSet.

Domestic ad sales were flat at $936 million, while analysts had expected a two percent increase. Still, U.S. domestic ad sales were Viacom’s strongest since 2014, according to a Jefferies report on Thursday.

The company’s shares were up 1.6 percent in premarket trading.

Chief Executive Bob Bakish, who took the helm late last year, has made improving relations with cable along with satellite companies a priority.

Last month, Viacom reached a deal with Charter Communications to put eight of its most well-known networks in Charter’s cheapest U.S. cable bundle.

Under the deal, which was announced Wednesday, Viacom will also create original content for Charter’s Spectrum customers along with all its channels will remain available.

Net profit attributable to Viacom rose to $674 million, or $1.67 per share, in its fiscal fourth quarter ended Sept.30, through $254 million, or 64 cents a share, a year earlier.

The quarter included a $127 million gain through an asset sale.

Total revenue rose 2.9 percent to $3.32 billion.

Excluding items, the company earned 77 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 86 cents per share along with revenue of $3.23 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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