Viacom's Domestic Ad Revenue Declines -- Update

By Austen Hufford Features Dow Jones Newswires

Viacom Inc. beat revenue and profit forecasts in its latest quarter, but saw a decline in domestic advertising revenue.

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In recent weeks, Viacom had entered talks to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., but eventually left the process, paving the way for Discovery Communications Inc. to strike a $11.9 billion deal for the cable TV programmer.

In its third quarter, domestic advertising revenues declined 2% to $955 million from a year earlier, as higher pricing was offset by a lower number of views. International advertising grew 14% to $280 million as the company bought one of Argentina's main free-to-air channels for $345 million last year.

In its media networks unit, revenue grew 2% to $2.56 billion, with affiliate revenue growing 4% and total advertising revenue increasing 2%. In June, the company's MTV channel saw year-over-year ratings growth for the first time since 2011.

Revenue at its filmed entertainment unit rose 36% to $847 million, driven by the latest "Transformers" movie.

The media giant has been working to reduce its hefty debt load. At the end of June, total debt outstanding was $11.17 billion, compared with $11.91 billion at the end of last September.

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In all for the quarter, Viacom's profit rose to $683 million, or $1.70 a share, compared with $432 million, or $1.09 a share, in the prior-year quarter. Excluding certain items, Viacom earned $1.17 a share.

Revenue grew 8.3% to $3.36 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected $3.29 billion in revenue and adjusted earnings per share of $1.05.

Viacom shares rose 0.3% to $41.30 in after-hours trading.

Write to Austen Hufford at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 03, 2017 17:21 ET (21:21 GMT)