May 23, 2024

Viacom Reports 20% Rise in 2nd-Quarter Revenue

The company, which owns cable channels like MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon and the movie studio Paramount Pictures, said that its revenue was $3.27 billion in its 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. The company generally topped analysts’ expectations.

“Viacom has never been stronger financially,” the company’s chief executive, Philippe P. Dauman, said in a conference call with investors. Mr. Dauman said Viacom, which is controlled by Sumner M. Redstone, intended to accelerate its stock buyback program and increase its dividend.

The biggest part of Viacom, its cable channel arm, remains healthy. Together, the channels topped $2 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 11 percent over 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. With the upfront season of advertising spending now under way, Mr. Dauman indicated that MTV would seek high premiums for future seasons of the show. “Next month,” he noted, the cast of the show “head to Florence” for a season set in Italy.

Shows like “Teen Mom” have also helped MTV’s performance. Over all, Viacom said it had posted an 11 percent gain in domestic advertising revenues, the fifth such quarter of sequential 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 implied that the company was seeking ratings improvements at two other channels, VH1 and Spike.

The revenue and profit for the company’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 in March, the filmed entertainment arm had $1.2 billion in revenue for the quarter, up from $638 million in the previous quarter and $886 million in the period a year ago.Both theatrical revenue and home entertainment revenue were up in the quarter, Viacom said, thanks to ticket sales for “Rango,” which was released in March, and DVD sales of well-regarded films like “True Grit” and “The Fighter.” Referring to the later films, David Joyce, an analyst for Miller Tabak and Company, said “the strength of Oscar contenders helped most of these revenue streams.”

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