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Epix Sale Gives Viacom's 3Q Earnings a Boost

Viacom reported higher earnings in the third quarter, getting a boost from the sale of its stake in Epix.

Net earnings rose to $683 million, or $1.70 a share, from $432 million, or $1.09 a share, a year ago. The results include a $285 million gain on the sale of Epix. Adjusted net earnings were up 12%.

Revenue rose 8% to $3.364 billion.

Adjusted operating income for Viacom’s Media Networks group, including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, was flat at $870 million in the quarter.

Media Networks revenues grew 2% to $2.56 billion. Affiliate revenues were up 4% to $1.19 billion. Domestic affiliate revenues were up 4% to $1.01 billion, reflecting higher revenue from SVOD and other OTT agreements.

Advertising revenues rose 2% to $1.24 billion. Domestic ad revenues were down 2% to $955 billion, reflecting higher prices but lower ratings. International advertising revenue rose 14% to $280 million.

Adjusted operating income at Viacom’s Filmed Entertainment unit was $9 million, compared to a loss of $26 million a year ago.

"In the third quarter, Viacom strengthened its top line, with growth in advertising and affiliate revenues and gains across its Filmed Entertainment segment, while continuing to execute on a strategic plan to reinvigorate our brands, break down silos, deepen our relationships with business partners and reposition Paramount for the future,” said CEO Bob Bakish.

“Among other recent successes, the Company entered into an unprecedented distribution and data partnership with Altice USA, secured a significant cross-platform talent agreement with award-winning writer, director and actor Tyler Perry and recorded quarterly year-over-year ratings growth across our Media Networks portfolio, with strong momentum at our flagship networks,” he said.