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Viacom Q2 Profit Rises 3% Despite Dips in Advertising, Affiliate Revenue

Viacom eked out a profit in its fiscal second quarter, even as revenue from several of its main business lines decreased.

The owner of MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures reported adjusted earnings of $383 million, or 95 cents a share, compared with $371 million, or 92 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of 81 cents per share. Profit for the period was up 3.2%.

Executives cited numerous headwinds that coalesced in the second quarter but promised the second half of its fiscal year would yield stronger results. However, Viacom revised its previous guidance of low single-digit growth in operating income on a full-year basis to a low-to-mid single-digit decline because of planned investments in the newly acquired Pluto TV ad-supported streaming platform.

Overall, Viacom’s total revenue fell 6% to nearly $2.96 billion, compared with nearly $3.15 billion in the year-earlier period. Advertising tumbled  7% to $1.033 billion, the company said, largely due to a 19% dip in international ad sales. Affiliate revenue declined 6%, to $1.139 billion. Viacom said its ad revenue growth rate has improved from quarter to quarter, however, and noted this period’s activity had been augmented by marketers’ interest in new kinds of data-driven advertising deals.

Activity in the company’s theatrical division was led by the movies “Bumblebee” and “What Men Want.” But overall revenue declined 1% due to lower licensing TV revenue compared to the year-ago quarter.

“We grew viewership share at our flagship networks, accelerated our Advanced Marketing Solutions and continued our momentum at Paramount Pictures,” said Viacom CEO Bob Bakish.

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