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Viacom profit beats on higher theater, affiliate revenues
[LONDON] Viacom Inc, the owner of MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by growth in its domestic affiliate and theatrical revenues.
Revenue from Viacom's film business, which includes theater and licensing, increased 24 per cent to US$758 million from a year earlier. Analysts had expected revenue of US$678.8 million, according to market research firm FactSet StreetAccount.
Viacom's results come as its new CEO, Bob Bakish, is focused on turning around the business after years of falling domestic ad revenues and poor ratings as younger viewers increasingly watch content online, while Paramount has suffered from lack of box-office hits.
As part of the strategy, the company said on Thursday it would focus its efforts on six "flagship" brands: Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Paramount.
Mr Bakish, who was formerly head of Viacom's international business, became permanent CEO in December after controlling shareholders, the Redstone family, abandoned exploring a merger of Viacom and CBS. Sumner Redstone and his family own a controlling stake in Viacom and CBS through privately held movie theater company, National Amusements Inc.
Viacom's media networks business reported a slight 1 percent rise in revenue to US$2.59 billion in the latest quarter.
Analysts had expected revenue of US$2.54 billion, according to FactSet StreetAccount.
However, net income attributable to Viacom fell to US$396 million, or US$1 per share, in the first quarter ended Dec 31, from US$449 million, or US$1.13 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned US$1.04 per share, handily beating the analyst estimate of 84 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 5.39 per cent to US$3.32 billion.
Analysts on average had expected revenue of US$3.18 billion.