Viacom's U.S. Revenue Lags Amid Declines in Cable Subscribers

By Allison Prang Features Dow Jones Newswires

Viacom Inc. reported a rise in revenue in its latest quarter on gains from advertising on its media networks and filmed entertainment units.

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But while the media company made progress in reducing expenses, its profit fell short of analysts' expectations as domestic ad revenue was flat and less money came in from affiliates amid declines in cable subscribers.

Shares in Viacom, which are down 20% this year, were flat in premarket trading Thursday.

Viacom announced Wednesday it had reached a new agreement with Charter Communications Inc., confirming tiers for cable customers to access its networks.

While Viacom's eight most popular networks will be available on Spectrum's base package, customers seeking more channels will have to watch them in more expensive package tiers.

The companies also agreed that Viacom -- the parent of networks such as Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central -- would make original content for Charter's Spectrum subscribers.

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Viacom said while domestic affiliate revenue fell 3% to $948 million in the quarter, it benefited from rate increases.

Media networks division revenue rose 3% to $2.55 billion, as the company reported double-digit percentage gains in world-wide advertising.

Filmed entertainment rose 2% to $789 million, but domestic revenues declined by 11%.

Revenue from licensing was up 30%, which Viacom said benefited from more money coming in from Paramount Television productions as well as film-licensing arrangements. Theatrical revenue and home entertainment revenue fell 43% and 5%, respectively.

For the fourth quarter, Viacom reported a profit of $674 million, or $1.67 per share, up 167% from a year ago. Excluding gains on asset sales and a tax benefit, Viacom's adjusted profit rose 14% to $310 million, or 77 cents a share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected Viacom to earn a profit of 86 cents a share.

Revenue rose 3% to $3.32 billion, ahead of analysts' estimates of $3.23 billion.

Write to Allison Prang at allison.prang@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 16, 2017 11:11 ET (16:11 GMT)