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Viacom Q3 Profit Falls On Ad Declines And Spare Movie Slate

Viacom said net earnings fell in its third fiscal quarter as its TV networks posted flat revenue and its filmed-entertainment operations suffered from the lack of big releases in the period.

The New York owner of MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central said it reported adjusted net earnings of $591 million, a 4% drop from the $618 million it collected in the year-earlier period.

Revenue fell 11% to $3.06 billion, compared with $3.42 billion in the year-earlier quarter.

The company said revenue at its movie business fell 44% due to comparisons with film releases in the year-earlier quarter. In last year’s third quarter, Viacom released the latest “Transformers” blockbuster, but in 2015,  big summer releases like “Terminator: Genisys” and “Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation” did not get wide release until the company’s fiscal fourth quarter.  Operating income fell 13% in the division.

Revenue at the company’s TV networks rose by just $6 million, and that was owing to fees from distributors. The company said U.S. advertising revenue fell 9% due to declines in TV ratings. Worldwide ad revenue fell 2%.

In a statement, the company pointed to the promise of some recently-launched programs, including “Lip Sync Battle”  on Spike and “Scream” on MTV. Viacom also cited the coming launch of “Minority Report,” a new drama on Fox, from its Paramount Television unit.

During a conference call with investors, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said Paramount Pictures will expand its annual release slate to 15 movies in 2016. A bevy of sequels are in the unit’s pipeline, including new iterations of “Transformers,” “Jack Reacher” and “Zoolander.”



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