Cable nets beat movies at Viacom


To no one’s surprise, revenues were down in Q2 for Viacom, but the Media Networks division fared better than the movie business. Also, CEO Philippe Dauman is upbeat on the Upfront.

Media Networks revenues declined 8% to $1.97 billion and operating income fell 11% to $671 million. Domestic advertising revenues were down 6%, which the company noted was an improvement over the 9% drop in Q1.

As for the Upfront, Dauman said Viacom’s cable nets have nearly completed their ad sales. “We are very pleased with the results from a volume and pricing standpoint,” he declared.

The Filmed Entertainment division saw Q2 revenues drop 22% to $1.38 billion. Worse yet, operating income of $86 million a year ago flipped to an operating loss of $25 million.

Total revenues fell 14% for Q2 to $3.3 billion and net earnings from continuing operations fell 32% to $277 million. That produced adjusted earnings per share of 49 cents, vs. 64 cents a year ago.

Not directly related to operating results is the ongoing effort by National Amusements Inc. (NAI) to reduce its debt load by selling some of its movie theaters. NAI is the family company through which Sumner Redstone controls both Viacom and CBS Corporation. In the Viacom conference call, Redstone denied that the sale is not going well. “Whatever you may hear from the uninformed, there is substantial interest from a number of our bidders. We are extremely pleased with the progress we are making,” he insisted.