Viacom 2Q Profit Soars on 'Jersey Shore'

Shares of Viacom (NYSE:VIA) climbed nearly 4% on Thursday to an all-time high after the company said its television segment grew sharply in the second-quarter with the help of Nickelodeon and MTV’s Jersey Shore.

The New York-based media giant posted net earnings of $420 million, or 72 cents a share, compared with $255 million, or 42 cents a share, in the year-earlier period, toppling average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 61 cents.

Revenue for the operator of MTV, Comedy Central, Spike TV, BET and Nickelodeon, was $3.3 billion, up 20% from $2.7 billion a year ago, just beating the Street’s view of $3.27 billion.

Viacom’s profit margins improved during the quarter with the help of sales growth across its media networks and filmed entertainment segments. Theatrical, advertising, home entertainment and television license revenues also helped drive the gains.

“This was an outstanding quarter, reflecting our continued operating momentum,” Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. “Our ability to translate industry-leading research and creative ingenuity into hit programming makes our branded networks a gateway to some of the most highly valued audiences around the globe.”

Television license fees grew 30% during the quarter to $336 million. MTV’s Jersey Shore was the top series across all of television with its target audience, which Viacom said helped boost the network’s prime-time ratings nearly 65% for the quarter. Nickelodeon continued to achieve top ratings for kids and total viewers.

During the three months ended March 31, Viacom repurchased 11.4 million of its shares for $500 million. As of Wednesday the company had $2.94 billion remaining on its $4 billion stock buyback program.