The devil’s going to be in the details for investors who want to see from the latest earnings report how basic operations performed in the June quarter without help from two successful tentpole films (Star Trek Into Darkness and World War Z), and a streaming deal with Amazon. But many likely will start and stop with Viacom‘s announcement this morning that it will double its share repurchase commitment to $20B. It “highlights the confidence we have in our business and the value of Viacom stock,” CEO Philippe Dauman says. “We will continue to focus on maintaining a strong and flexible balance sheet, which supports robust investments in our brands and franchises as well as substantial capital return to shareholders.” As for the basic fiscal Q3 numbers: Viacom generated $643M in net income, +20.4% vs the period last year, on revenues of $3.69B, +14%. The revenue number beat the $3.58B that analysts expected. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations, at $1.29 a share, were a penny shy of forecasts. At the main TV networks business revenues were +13% to $2.57B with operating income +24% to $1.16B. It benefited from a rise in affiliate fees, +28% domestically and +26% worldwide, although without the streaming deals the number would have been up “in the high single digits,” Viacom says. Domestic ad sales increased 5%. Over at Filmed Entertainment, which includes Paramount, revenues were +15% to $1.16B including worldwide theatrical revenues of $464M, +64%. But operating income fell 63% to $17M. The company says that home entertainment revenues fell by 10% due to “lower carryover revenues.” Production and marketing expenses for Paramount’s big movies also hit in the quarter.
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