Viacom shares are up in pre market trading after it reported June quarter financials that exceeded the expectations that it lowered after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows plodded out of the gate.
The entertainment company just reported that it generated net income of $432 million, down 26.9% vs. the same period last year, on revenues of $3.11 billion, up 1.6%. The top line exceeded the $3.01 billion that Wall Street anticipated. And adjusted earnings at $1.09 a share beat forecasts for $1.01.
Viacom told investors in June that earnings would come in between $1.00 and $1.05 — far below the $1.38 that Wall Street was then expecting. Domestic ad sales at the company’s cable networks declined 4% in the fiscal Q3, as it warned. This is the 8th consecutive quarter that U.S. ad sales have dropped.
CEO Philippe Dauman says that the numbers “were impacted by the underperformance of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.” Still, he says the company “continued to execute on our strategic plan by increasing investment in high-quality original content, enhancing our connection to audiences, accelerating the growth of data-driven advertising products and further expanding our unmatched global reach.”
This morning’s announcement doesn’t mention his multiple legal battles with controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone.
Revenues at the company’s Media Networks unit fell 3% to $2.51 billion, and operating income dropped 22% to $872 million, as the company grappled with ratings declines, reductions in ad loads, and the impact of the strong dollar on overseas sales.
The ratings drops, especially notable at Comedy Central and MTV, contributed to the drop in domestic ad sales. International ad sales were up 13%, and would have increased 19% without the foreign exchange imbalance, the company says.
Domestic affiliate revenues fell 10%, which Viacom attributes to “a difficult comparison with the timing of revenues from certain distribution agreements” last year. International affiliate sales were up 9%, and would have been up 12% if foreign exchange rates had held steady.
Programming and marketing expenses increased in the quarter.
And at the Paramount-led Filmed Entertainment operations, revenues were up 30% to $621 million while operations lost $26 million, down from last year’s $48 million gain. Despite the slow Turtles, license fees were up 39% from deals with subscription VOD providers and Paramount Television productions.
In June, when Viacom told Wall Street that it would fall short of analysts’ forecasts for the fiscal Q3, the company said it expected to complete an SVOD deal that had been delayed by “the recent and highly public governance controversy” between Dauman and Redstone. That “negatively impacted the timing and [Viacom’s] ability to achieve an optimal outcome with partners.”
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