September 28, 2020

Viacom Reports 20% Increase in Revenue, While Discovery Posts 9% Rise

The company, which owns the cable channels MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon and the movie studio Paramount Pictures, said that its revenue was $3.27 billion in its fiscal second quarter, up from $2.73 billion in the period a year ago. Net income for the quarter was $376 million, or 63 cents a share. That was a 53 percent gain over the same quarter a year ago, when the company had net income of $245 million, or 40 cents a share. It generally topped analysts’ expectations.

“Viacom has never been stronger financially,” Philippe P. Dauman, the chief executive, said Thursday in a conference call with investors. Mr. Dauman said that Viacom, which is controlled by Sumner M. Redstone, intended to accelerate its stock buyback program and increase its dividend by an unspecified amount. The biggest part of Viacom, its cable channel arm, remains healthy. Together, the channels exceeded $2 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 11 percent from the same quarter last year.

Mr. Dauman credited “phenomenal” ratings for several shows, chief among them “Jersey Shore,” the reality show about hard-partying young men and women that had its third season during the quarter. The season averaged about 7.7 million viewers, making it the most popular show in MTV’s history.

Mr. Dauman indicated that MTV would seek high premiums for future seasons of “Jersey Shore” and other shows.

Over all, Viacom said it had posted an 11 percent gain in domestic advertising revenues, the fifth consecutive quarter of improvement in that growth rate.

Viacom has also nurtured shows that are considered hits for its other channels: “iCarly” for Nickelodeon, “Tosh.0” for Comedy Central, “The Game” for BET. Mr. Dauman said the company was seeking ratings improvements at two other channels, VH1 and Spike, by adjusting their programming schedules. Revenue and profit for Viacom’s filmed entertainment arm fluctuate depending on the performance of its feature films and the sales of DVDs of those films.

In the quarter that ended in December, Viacom’s earnings declined in large part because of weakness in this area. But in the quarter that ended March 31, the filmed entertainment arm had $1.2 billion in revenue, up from $638 million in the previous quarter and $886 million in the fiscal second quarter a year ago.

Viacom stock was up 3.8 percent Thursday to close at $58.14, a 52-week high.

Discovery Communications, another owner of cable channels, also reported double-digit advertising gains on Thursday.

Discovery, which owns the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet among others, posted revenue of $951 million in the first quarter, up 9 percent over the same quarter last year.

Thanks in part to a one-time gain related to the formation of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network in January, Discovery posted net income of $305 million, or 74 cents per share, up from $169 million, or 39 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

International revenue grew faster than domestic revenue for Viacom and Discovery. David Zaslav, the chief executive of Discovery, said his company had benefited from a “continued favorable economic climate.”

Discovery shares gained 1.8 percent to close at $43.14.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=b334711483f0df1bec5ad02d9e7a5604

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