Viacom Cost-Cutting Helps Q1 Profit Beat Wall Street Estimates


As it mulls a re-combination with CBS, Viacom is continuing to gradually turn its ship in a better direction.

Driven by a 10% drop in expenses, the company delivered earnings of $1.03 per share in the fiscal first quarter, excluding one-time items. That was nearly a dime better that Wall Street analyst’s consensus outlook of 94 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.

Total revenue for the period ending December 31 slid 8% to $3.07 billion.

Expenses fell to $2.26 billion in the quarter, and provision for income taxes dropped 73.4 percent.

Total advertising revenue gained 1%, though the ad picture was fuzzier in the U.S. than it was overseas. Domestic ad revenue decreased 5% to $937 million, which the company blamed on lower linear impressions, partially offset by higher pricing and growth in digital advertising revenue.

Internationally, ad revenues increased 22% to $371 million. Excluding foreign exchange impact, international ad revenues increased 17%.

Affiliate sales slumped 4%.

Paramount Pictures is stopping the bleeding, the company contends. The studio showed an adjusted operating loss of $130 million in the quarter, which was better than the $180 million loss a year ago.

The “number and mix” of film releases in the quarter took the blame for a 28% drop in film revenue to $544 million.

In the earnings release, CEO Bob Bakish promised $100 million in new cost savings for the full fiscal year and “hundreds of millions more” in 2019. Viacom in the quarter, he said, “aggressively drove progress on our strategic plan, delivering improvements in our business and positioning the company for the future.”

Bakish and other execs will hold a conference call with analysts this morning to discuss the results in more detail. Check back for updates.

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