Viacom‘s shares have been hovering around their all-time high and, unless I’m missing something in the weeds, the latest earnings report shouldn’t change that. In the September quarter the entertainment company generated net earnings from continuing operations of $806M, +25.4% vs the period last year, on revenues of $3.65B, +8.6%. The revenue number beat analyst expectations for $3.6B. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations at $1.55 a share also topped forecasts for $1.44. At the main Media Networks unit revenues came in at $2.46B (+7.4%) with operating income of $1.04B (+10.9%). Domestic and overseas ad sales each were up 10% while rate increases elevated fees from pay TV and digital streaming providers by 6%. The Filmed Entertainment operation, which includes Paramount, exceeded the Street’s expectations with revenues +11.1% to $1.21B and operating income +49.2% to $291M. The company says that World War Z helped to drive a 31% increase in theatrical revenues. Home entertainment — which had one additional release vs last year — was +24%. “Viacom’s commitment to creative and operational excellence, and our continued investment in content, delivered an outstanding quarter and a strong fiscal year,” CEO Philippe Dauman says. He adds that he’s “very optimistic about Paramount’s ambitious pipeline of branded and franchise films” and notes that the company repurchased $2.7B worth of stock in fiscal Q4 — bringing the total cash returned during the year to $5.4B.
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