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Viacom Q3 Earnings Dip on Ad Decline

Viacom reported lower earnings for its third quarter as ad revenue at its domestic cable networks continued to fall because of lower ratings.

Net earnings fell 3% to $591 million, or $1.47 a share, from $610 million, or $140 a share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 11% to $3.058 billion. Domestic advertising revenue dropped 9% as ratings declined. Worldwide advertising revenue decreased 2%.

Earnings were even with Wall Street expectations, but revenue was below forecasts.

The results came a day after a big selloff of media stocks because of investor concern that the TV advertising business is weak and distribution revenues are vulnerable.

Operating income for Viacom’s media networks, which include MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, was down 1% to $1.1 billion. Revenue was up a hair at $2.6 billion.

“Viacom continues to drive change in our business, creating unprecedented levels of original content, forging innovative marketing and distribution partnerships, and prioritizing international growth through organic expansion and strategic investments,” CEO Philippe Dauman said. “Our Media Networks are quickly bringing innovative data-based advertising products to market, broadening our sales capabilities and developing new solutions for marketing partners."