Viacom Reports Lower First Quarter Earnings

Viacom reported lower earning for first quarter as ad revenue continued to fall.

The company has made moves to boost its digital businesses by agreeing to acquire streaming video company Pluto TV and has been growing its advanced advertising business. It also cut losses at its Paramount studio.

First quarter net income fell to $318 million, or 80 cents a share, from $537 million, or $1.33 per share a year ago.

Revenue rose 1% to $3.09 billion.

Operating income for Viacom’s Media Networks division was flat at $913 million. The company said operating income would have been up 2% without the effects of foreign currency.

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Revenue was down 2% to $2.498 billion, with advertising down 6% to $1.123 billion and affiliate revenue up 3% to $1.169 billion. Revenue from consumer products, recreation and live events were down 12% to $99 million.

Media Networks’ domestic revenue was flat. Domestic ad sales were down 3% to $907 million. and affiliate revenue was up 5% to $969 million.

Viacom said revenue for its Advanced Marketing Solutions unit was up 54%

Revenue at Paramount Pictures rose 14% and the studio cut its losses by 31% to $90 million. Paramount Television revenue was up 84% from a year ago.

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“Through strong execution of our strategic priorities, we delivered another quarter of solid financial and operational results,” said CEO Bob Bakish.

“Beyond the growth at our flagship networks and the resurgence of Paramount Pictures, we took a major step forward in our evolution with an agreement to acquire Pluto TV. This service will create a scaled direct-to-consumer offering for Viacom, and expand our opportunities in next-generation distribution and advanced advertising. With this momentum, we are progressing toward a return of topline growth in 2019 as Viacom continues to evolve for the future,” Bakish said.

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.