Based on the numbers most investors watch, Viacom missed the Street’s expectations for the September quarter. But some make take solace in the domestic ad sales number which, while falling 7% vs the period last year, at least is an improvement from the June quarter.
In its fiscal Q4, the entertainment company reported $884 million in net income — including a one-time tax benefit — up 20.8%, on revenues of $3.79 billion, down 5.1%. Analysts expected the sales number to reach $3.88 billion. Adjusted earnings, without the tax benefit, came in at $1.54, a penny shy of the Street’s consensus forecast.
Viacom shares are down 4.8% in pre-market trading.
“Viacom’s fourth quarter and year-end results are indicative of our progress in key areas, including recent ratings improvement and renewals of important distribution agreements,” CEO Philippe Dauman says. “Our strategy of increasing and accelerating investment in original content and expanding our profitable international footprint are among the major factors driving this success, which we believe will continue in 2016 and beyond.”
At the main Media Networks business, operating income fell 6% to $1.02 billion on revenues of $2.79 billion, up 5%. Viacom says that it was helped by an increase in affiliate payments –up 15% domestically and 10% worldwide — helped by rate increases and the timing of its programming releases.
The 7% fall in domestic ad sales — one of the most closely watched numbers — reflected “a decline in traditional television ratings” but compares to a 9% drop in the previous quarter. Outside of the U.S., ad sales increased 45% with the inclusion of UK’s Channel 5.
The Paramount-led Filmed Entertainment division couldn’t match last year’s performance which included Transformers: Age Of Extinction. Operating income dropped 43% to $122 million on revenues of $1.03 billion, down 24%. Theatrical sales fell 20% while home entertainment was down 54%.