Not much to crow about for the quarter that ended in September, although net profits benefited from foreign exchange rates and lower taxes. Viacom reported net earnings of $650M, +12.8% vs the period last year, on revenues of $3.36B, -17%. The revenue figure was lower than the $3.42B that analysts expected. But earnings per share for continuing operations, at $1.21, beat forecasts for $1.17. The biggest operation, Media Networks, generated revenues of $2.29B — virtually unchanged from last year — with operating income of $933M (-3%). Viacom says that a 6% decline in domestic ad sales, and 7% fall overseas, outweighed the rising fees it collected from pay TV distributors, up 12% in the U.S. and 11% elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Paramount-led Filmed Entertainment unit delivered revenues of $1.09B (-39%) and operating income of $195M (+5%). Viacom says that it faced “difficult comparisons” with last year which included Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, although revenues from TV increased 19% while ancillary revenues were up 21%. “We continue to invest in our future across all platforms and geographies,” CEO Philippe Dauman says. He adds that the company “has an exciting pipeline in place with eight films in the first fiscal quarter, including Jack Reacher, DreamWorks Animation’s Rise Of The Guardians and the recently released Flight.”
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