Dollars Are Only Part of Earnings Season

Numbers were only part of the story as several big media companies reported quarterly earnings last week. 

Viacom was expected to report a big drop in earnings, and the company did so on Aug. 4 with net income down 27%. The results led to another salvo in the battle between controlling shareholder Sumner Redstoneand CEO Philippe Dauman. 

Dauman admitted the Redstone situation was “somewhat distracting” but added that the courts would clear up the ownership issues during trials in October. In a statement, Redstone’s National Amusements said Viacom’s earnings decline was a sign that a management change was needed at the company. 

On 21st Century Fox’s earnings call Aug. 2, executive chairman Lachlan Murdochaddressed Fox News, where chairman Roger Aileswas forced to resign in the wake of a sexual harassment suit. Without naming Ailes—and dubbing his father and interim Fox News CEO Rupert Murdochas Fox News’ founder—Lachlan said that the company had moved quickly to protect the network’s business, its employees and its unique voice. No changes in its direction are planned, he added. 

Time Warner’s Aug. 3 earnings call was dominated by the announcement that the company will buy 10% of Hulu for $683 million. Time Warner’s Turner cable networks will be carried on the new live streaming service Hulu plans to introduce next year. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.