Viacom Registers Modest Growth, Media Networks Up 6%

Viacom’s media networks witnessed modest growth in first-quarter 2014 results versus a year ago -- with its filmed/home entertainment division posting sharply lower revenues during the period.

Media networks had a 6% gain in revenue to $2.54 billion, due to higher affiliate and advertising fees. The division also posted an 8% hike in operating income to $1.1 billion.

Vasily Karasyov, media analyst at Sterne Agee, said Viacom’s 3% growth in advertising revenue was lower than his 5% growth estimate. Going forward, he expects Viacom’s advertising picture to improve. Viacom’s 10% hike revenues from affiliate fees was in line with estimates.

Nickelodeon grew 3% in overall full-day viewership in 2013 over 2012 to a Nielsen average of 1.77 million viewers; Nick at Nite grew 14% to 1.06 million.

Spike TV in prime time was 5% higher at 872,000; VH1 slightly grew to 652,000 from 646,000 in 2012.

Going in the other direction, MTV was down 12% for the year to 812,000 viewers in prime time and off 9% in total day viewers to 466,000. Nick Jr. lost 42% to 464,000 viewers in prime time and was down 39% in total day viewers to 331,000.

Viacom’s Paramount film unit, which also contains the home entertainment business, sank 30% lower in revenues to $681 million, mostly due to a lower number of theatrical titles in the period. Specifically, theatrical revenues decreased 52%, while home entertainment revenues declined 37%. Filmed entertainment operating losses were trimmed to $74 million from $139 million. Karasyov says the operating loss results at filmed entertainment were better than his projection.

Viacom’s overall revenues declined 4% to $3.2 billion. Net income was up to $557 million versus $479 million in the first quarter of 2013.

The company's mid-day stock was trading up 3% to $83.47.



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