"Clearly, in the advertising marketplace, there is softness out there," he said at a New York industry event Wednesday.
Viacom said last week that U.S. ad revenues were down some 3% in the recently ended third quarter.
But going forward, he said Viacom is "well-positioned as compared to many of the other players out there." Dauman was referring to the much-chronicled uphill battles that local broadcasters are facing. Even with its troubles, Dauman said Viacom--with its fleet of cable networks--is fortunate that it's in the national ad business.
Some 30% of Viacom's revenues come from ad dollars; the remainder come from network affiliate fees and its Paramount film studio, among other streams.
On Friday, in addition to word that third-quarter ad dollars were down, Viacom adjusted downward its expected earnings performance for the year.
Other comments Dauman offered Wednesday:
*Kids' network Nickelodeon has significant growth opportunities ahead of it, particularly in the licensing area. Viacom is exploring a kids-oriented version of its Rock Band video game. And it's expanding its Nick-branded cruise business.
*Viacom is focusing on growing organically, and has no plans to make major acquisitions.
*The planned 2009 launch of a pay-cable channel with partners MGM and Lionsgate is on pace. Dauman said the company has "made great progress" in negotiating carriage deals with distributors, but declined to provide any details.