Viacom Shares Climb After Company Posts Q1 Earnings Above Forecasts, Lays Out Strategic Turnaround Plan

By Trey Williams Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Viacom Inc. class A voting shares jumped 3% in premarket trade Thursday, after the media company blew past earnings estimates and outlined a five-point strategic plan. The company's nonvoting class B shares were inactive. Viacom said it had net income of $396 million, or $1.00 per share during its fiscal first quarter, compared with $449 million, or $1.13 during the same quarter a year ago. Adjusted earnings were $1.04 per share, well above FactSet's 83 cents consensus. Revenue for the quarter hit $3.32 billion, improved compared with $3.15 billion last year and above the FactSet consensus of $3.18 billion. Revenue at Viacom's media networks rose 5%, with affiliate revenue growing 2%, but advertising revenue seeing a 2% decline. The company's struggling MTV network showed its first ratings growth since 2014 during the quarter. And revenue at Viacom's film studio grew 24%. As part of Chief Executive Bob Bakish's much anticipated turnaround plan, Viacom plans to put it's full capabilities behind its six flagship brands: BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount Pictures. Viacom also laid out plans to revitalize and elevate its approach to content and talent, deepen partnerships to drive traditional revenue, make big moves in the digital and physical world and to continue to optimize and energize the organization. Shares of Viacom have gained nearly 22% in the trailing 12-month period, while the S&P 500 Index is up nearly 24%

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