Paramount’s Bob Bakish Says Ad Market Weaker Than Expected

Bob Bakish
Bob Bakish (Image credit: Paramount)

Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish provided more testimony that the advertising market is weaker heading into the end of the year.

Speaking at the UBS Global TMT Conference in New York Tuesday, Bakish noted that Paramount had forecast that fourth quarter ad sales would be in line with the third quarter performance. 

"We do now see the fourth quarter coming in a bit below the third quarter," Bakish said. Paramount reported that advertising revenues were down 3% to $1.974 billion in the third quarter.

"The current market is challenging and we’re in it every day. That challenge is both on the linear side and the digital side," he said. "We had looked for some improvement in some sectors, but we haven’t seen that."

Bakish said that Paramount was in the process of reorganizing its ad sales division to give the large media buying holding companies a single point of contact, a move that will make it easier for them to transact.

The problems in the ad market are giving Wall Street a reason to downgrade media stocks, but Bakish said that advertising was an important part of monetizing content.

"While challenging, the ad business is cyclical," he said. "This too is cyclical. It will turn. I can’t tell you exactly when it will turn, but when it does, you’ll see to power of the portfolio of assets we have." 

Paramount stock finished Tuesday at $18.15 a share, down 6.97%. ■

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.