WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Media conglomerate Viacom, Inc. (VIA, VIAB) reported a sharp increase in second-quarter profit, driven by higher affiliate fees and ad revenues as well as lower distribution costs. Adjusted earnings per share surpassed analysts' expectations, while revenues missed their view.
The company's Media Networks segment, which runs cable networks such as MTV and Nickelodeon, grew revenues by 5 percent.
Filmed Entertainment division, which comprises the Paramount Pictures movie studio, saw its revenue drop 5 percent due to lower theatrical and television license fee revenues.
The business did not perform as well it did last year, as the performance of films released this year such as The Devil Inside and A Thousand Words did not match the same period last year.
However, adjusted operating income in the filmed entertainment segment soared 195 percent, helped mainly by lower distribution costs.
After Titanic 3-D, Paramount is now looking forward to the release of The Dictator, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted later in the ongoing quarter.
In the second quarter, net earnings attributable to the company increased to $585 million or $1.07 per share in the second quarter, compared to $376 million or $0.63 per share reported last year.
The results also reflect the company's $10 billion stock repurchase program, which returned $700 million in equity to shareholders in the quarter. As of May 2, Viacom had $5.90 billion remaining in the repurchase program.
Excluding one-time items, earnings were $0.98 per share, higher than $0.72 per share in the preceding year. On average, 31 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $0.89 per share. Such estimates typically exclude special items.
Revenues for the quarter increased 2 percent to $3.33 billion from $3.27 billion in the prior-year quarter, driven primarily by higher Media Networks affiliate revenues. Analysts estimated revenues of $3.34 billion.
Philippe Dauman, president and chief executive officer of the company said, 'Driven by our popular programming, Viacom's media networks are also forging new and lucrative opportunities in digital distribution, while continuing to create increasing value with our traditional affiliate partners.'
VIA closed Wednesday's regular trading at $51.04 on the Nasdaq. VIAB ended at $47.43. In the pre-market activity on Thursday, the shares are up 3.84 percent.
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