Comedy Central-owner Viacom Reports Improvement In Film And TV, As Q2 Earnings Beat Expectations

By Trey Williams Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Viacom Inc. rose more than 4% in premarket trade on Thursday after the media and entertainment company reported second quarter earnings that were better than Wall Street expected. Viacom reported net income for the quarter was $121 million, or 30 cents per share, down compared with last year's $303 million, or 76 per share during the same period. Adjusted earnings per share came in at 79 cents, well above FactSet's per-share consensus of 59 cents. Revenue for the quarter hit $3.26 billion, which is an improvement compared with Viacom's $3.00 billion in the year-earlier period and above FactSet's $3.03 billion consensus. Viacom said revenue at its media networks increased 1% in the quarter. Domestic advertising revenue fell 4%, but was offset by international advertising, which increased 11%. Comedy Central's flagship show "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" had its most-watched quarter to date, with digital viewing up 37%. Revenue at the company's Paramount Pictures film division, which brought in former 20th Century Fox executive Jim Gianopulos to head the studio, rose 10% in the quarter thanks to strong international performance from "XXX: Return of Xander Cage." "We executed quickly on our strategic plan, making significant organizational changes to better focus and align Viacom's brand portfolio and ensure strong leadership," said Viacom Chief Executive Bob Bakish in a statement. "We are working diligently to cement Viacom as a partner of choice in the industry, presenting new and reinvigorated brand strategies for our advertisers, producing creative and flexible new opportunities with our distributors and recommitting ourselves to be the home for the world's best talent." Viacom's commonly-owned class B shares have gained nearly 12% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 index is up close to 7%.

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