Viacom brings in more cash, but less is profit


Viacom honcho Sumner M. Redstone credited the firm’s ”exceptional executive team” for producing $3.95B in consolidated revenue during the firm’s fiscal Q1 which ended 12/31/11 and a 3% improvement over the prior Q1 2010. But other reports tended to focus on a 65% decrease in net earnings on weak cable television advertising results.

Viacom noted that operating income was down 2% to $1.02B; and net earnings from continuing operations was down 5% to $591M.

Over at Bloomberg, they focused on net income, down from $610M to $212M.

Redstone said, “Led by an exceptional executive team, Viacom executed on its mission to meet the challenges of a constantly evolving market and deliver value to shareholders.  We continue to take advantage of our collective programming experience and brand leadership to bring our audiences distinctive and popular television and motion picture content on every platform – a strategy that will drive our success today and over the long term.”

Added President/CEO Philippe Dauman, “In the first quarter of 2012, Viacom proved that it has the creative capability, operational resolve and financial strength to deliver for shareholders despite short term economic headwinds. Our proven strategy of continuing to invest in creative content is fueling momentum across our properties.  MTV, COMEDY CENTRAL and BET were home to many of the top rated shows in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 and Nickelodeon remained the number one cable network for kids. 

“Despite short term softness in the overall ad markets,” Dauman added, “Viacom’s quarterly results benefited from strong affiliate fee revenue growth, as our industry-leading portfolio of TV brands continued to attract traditional distributors as well as emerging digital services.  Paramount Pictures also began the year with a strong performance in the theatrical market, with hits like Paranormal Activity 3 and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which has generated approximately $575 million at the worldwide box office.  We are looking forward to our slate of films for the 2012 calendar year and are already off to a strong start with the breakout performance of The Devil Inside, a low-cost genre film from Paramount’s Insurge Pictures label that has earned more than $50 million at the box office.”

According to Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker, various problems with Nickelodeon caused most of the company’s Q1 grief, and if its results are taken out of the picture, the situation would have been much improved.

She added that advertising prospects for March were improving and that cancellations have been lower than anticipated.

Barclay Capital’s Anthony DiClemente also noted that advertising prospects looked better than they have been but noted the possibility of further potholes. Barclay has pulled back a Q2 advertising increase estimate of 4% down to 1% and is projecting FY 2012 growth of 2.5%, down from 4.9%.