Viacom Reports Mixed Q1 Results, Missing Wall Street Revenue Forecast

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Viacom reported mixed results for its fiscal first quarter, with total revenue falling short of Wall Street forecasts due to an advertising decline in its dominant media networks unit.

Earnings per share on an adjusted and diluted basis came in at $1.12, beating estimates by 9 cents, but revenue of $3.09 billion undershot the Street’s forecast for $3.12 billion.

Media Networks saw a 2% decline in revenue, to just shy of $2.5 billion. Advertising was down 6%. The company cited the negative impact of foreign exchange rates on international operations.

Paramount Pictures posted an eighth straight quarter of improvement, with its revenue climbing 14% to $621 million, with Bumblebee and Instant Family contributing to a strong theatrical showing. Television revenue shot up 84% thanks to the licensing of shows like The Haunting of Hill House.

The company pointed to broader licensing efforts, noting that the Broadway adaptation of Paramount’s film Mean Girls has grossed $67 million to date. It also beat the drums for its acquisition of Pluto TV for $340 million, which was announced last month.

Viacom has made strides in the past couple of years under CEO Bob Bakish. Even so, the company is laboring under the shadow of two forces — a widely expected reunion with CBS and possibly additional M&A, and the dilemma of how to cope with cord-cutting and changes in the pay-TV landscape.

Shares in Viacom are up 12% in 2019 to date. They remain well below the lofty levels of earlier this decade, however.

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