With declining ratings at its cable networks and a light film slate, analysts didn’t expect much from Viacom in the quarter that ended in June. But it missed even the Street’s modest predictions. The company reported net earnings of $534M, -7% vs the same period last year, on revenues of $3.24B, -13.9%. The revenue figure is short of the $3.49B that analysts forecast. And adjusted earnings for continuing operations at 97 cents a share missed the Street’s $1.00 target. Revenue at the Media Networks, the core business, was -5% to $2.3B while operating income was -10% to $934M. Analysts expected to see a drop considering the ratings decline in the quarter at most of Viacom’s channels including Nickelodeon, Nick-at-Nite, MTV, and Comedy Central. But the -7% in domestic ad revenues and -9% worldwide may come as a surprise; several company watchers were looking for just a 4% slip in ad sales. Payments from pay TV distributors also fell 1%. Viacom says that the operation was hurt by “the timing of event-driven programming compared with the prior year’s quarter.” Meanwhile, revenues fell 29% to $1B, and operating income was -6% to $46M, at the Filmed Entertainment unit which includes Paramount. The slate in this year’s quarter — led by Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, The Dictator, and Titanic 3D — was no match for last year which included Kung Fu Panda 2, Thor, Super 8, and Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. In addition, worldwide home video sales dropped 8% while worldwide TV license fees were -24%. (more…)