Viacom Reports Higher Second-Quarter Earnings

Viacom reported higher second-quarter income as it cut costs.

Net income rose to $376 million, or 93 cents a share, from $266 million, or 66 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 6% to $2.958 billion.

At the company’s media networks unit, adjusted operating income was down 3% to $682 million. Revenue dropped 7% to $2.267 billion.

Related: Viacom Launching New Channels on Pluto TV

Advertising revenue was down 7% to $1.033 billion. Domestic ad sales were down 2% to $820 million. The company said ad sales were hurt by the late Easter. Advanced Marketing Services revenue benefited from the acquisition of Pluto TV, increasing 76% in the quarter compared to 54% in the first quarter.

On the company's earnings call with analysts, CEO Bob Bakish said ad revenue would grow in the third quarter, marking the first quarter of ad sales growth in five years for the company.

Affiliate revenue dropped 6% to $1.139 billion. Domestic affiliate sales were down 2% to $936 million.

Bakish noted that Viacom has negotiated a new carriage deal with AT&T and that some of its networks were being added to the AT&T Watch package. He also noted that Viacom channels would be included in T-Mobile's video offering.

Pluto TV is being integrated into Comcast's X1 platform, Bakish said. Pluto will be launching Pluto Latino in the U.S. Internationally, Pluto is being launched in Switzerland and expanded in the U.K., Germany and Austria. A Pluto Latin America service will planned for later this year.

“This quarter we executed strongly on our strategic priorities and made significant progress in advancing our evolution," said Bakish. "We grew viewership share at our flagship networks, accelerated our Advanced Marketing Solutions and continued our momentum at Paramount Pictures. We also achieved important milestones in expanding our distribution across traditional, digital and mobile platforms, while dramatically improving our audience reach through the integration of Pluto TV. As the media landscape continues to segment across price points, we’re confident in our strategy, strong results and the opportunities ahead as we continue to position Viacom for the future.”

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.