Viacom Reports Record Quarter

Viacom Inc. is reporting record earnings for the second quarter, including double-digit growth in broadcast and cable segments from second-quarter 2003.

The second-quarter report also shows that the company paid former Viacom President Mel Karmazin about $35 million in severance and former Entertainment Group President Jonathan Dolgen another $20 million.
Cable network revenue was up 18% for the second quarter to 1.587 billion over the same quarter last year, with operating income up 23%. On the broadcast television side--networks and stations--revenue was up 11% to 2.063 billion. Viacom's total revenue for the quarter was $6.8 billion, up 7% from the same quarter last year.

Revenue increases in cable were led by a 26% boost in ad revenues for MTV Networks and a 23% ad boost for BET. Affiliate fees were up 8%. Ancillary revenue was up 17%, thanks in part to higher Nickelodeon licensing revenues. Dave Chapelle, who is currently negotiating for a third year on Comedy Central, should take note that Viacom attributes its higher home video revenue "principally [to] Chapelle's Show.

On the broadcast side, the 11% revenue boost was attributed to a 10% ad revenue increase for a combined CBS and UPN, with CBS prime time, late night and sports doing most of the heavy lifting, plus an 8% ad boost for the TV stations division thanks to a stronger CBS schedule and political advertising.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.