Viacom 4Q Revenue Falls 14.8%


Viacom, the owner of MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, posted quarterly revenue below estimates on Wednesday, weighed down by lower domestic advertising revenue and the absence of hit movie releases at its Paramount film studio.

Domestic advertising revenue fell 8 percent in the quarter ended Sept. 30, the ninth consecutive quarterly decline.

Analysts on average had expected a 7.8 percent fall, according to market research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

Revenue from Viacom's film business fell 24.5 percent to $774 million from a year earlier, when the film "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" had a strong international performance.

Viacom stopped the search for a minority investor in Paramount in September, a plan championed by former Chief Executive Philippe Dauman but opposed by majority shareholder Sumner Redstone, who also controls CBS Corp.

Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone forced Dauman out of the company earlier this year, replacing him with interim CEO Tom Dooley who will step down next week in favor of 19-year company veteran Bob Bakish.

Viacom has hired financial advisers to explore a merger with CBS following a proposal from National Amusements Inc, Redstone's holding company.

Viacom's total revenue fell 14.8 percent to $3.23 billion, below analysts' average estimate of $3.30 billion.

Net profit attributable to Viacom plunged to $254 million, or 64 cents per share, in the company's fourth fiscal quarter, from $884 million, or $2.21 per share, a year earlier.

The company booked a pre-tax charge of $206 million in the quarter, reflecting restructuring costs in connection with the separation of certain senior executives.

Excluding items, the company earned 69 cents per share, beating analysts' average estimate of 65 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Viacom said in September it expected adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of 65-70 cents per share, well below the analyst average of 89 cents at the time, reflecting a $115 million impairment charge related to an unreleased film it did not identify.

The writedown is widely thought to be for the action-comedy film "Monster Trucks," due for release in early 2017.

(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)