Small-budget movies helped Viacom to a surprise rise in adjusted profits, as it struggles with restructuring. Revenue was a shade weaker than expected: sales fell 4 per cent to $3.24bn.
Paramount’s operating income jumped to $44m in the quarter, from $9m a year ago benefitting from movies like A Quiet Place that cost $30m and took over $300m at the box office.
Analysts believe Viacom has been hit particularly hard by the trend of cord-cutting because it does not have news or sports shows — two genres that people are deemed more likely to watch live on TV. But Viacom’s turnround is gaining traction under chief executive Bob Bakish, who has cut costs and focused on the most important channels, including MTV and Comedy Central, and also looked to revive the Paramount studio. Viacom and CBS share a common controlling shareholder in the Redstone family, who has tried to combine them. CBS has resisted with a lawsuit, and the legal dispute is headed to court in October.