Viacom earnings jump

Viacom reported higher earnings in its fiscal second quarter, with its media networks turning single-digit revenue increases into double-digits gains in operating income.

Net income was $585 million, up 56 per cent from $376 million a year ago. Revenues rose 2 per cent to $3.3 billion.

“In the second quarter, Viacom continued its steady growth and delivered notably higher profitability, driven by relentless investment in our exceptional brands, and an ongoing focus on operational excellence,” CEO Philippe Dauman said in a statement. “Driven by our popular programming, Viacom’s media networks are also forging new and lucrative opportunities in digital distribution, while continuing to create increasing value with our traditional affiliate partners.”

Viacom’s Media Networks group, which includes MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, reported operating income of $893 million, up 11 per cent from a year ago. Revenues were up 5 per cent to $2.19 billion as domestic affiliate revenues increased 15 per cent and worldwide affiliate revenues grew 17 per cent. Those gains were offset by a decrease in ancillary revenues.

Advertising sales did not grow as fast, with domestic ad revenues up 1 per cent and worldwide ad revenues flat.
Ratings were down 19 per cent at MTV among adults 18 to 34 and Nickelodeons viewership issues continued with ratings down 27 per cent among kids 6 to 11. In the fourth quarter, a sudden drop in kids viewing meant providing make-good ads to sponsors cutting into ad sales during the key holiday season.

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