×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Viacom Pushes New Content Ventures as Q1 Revenue Disappoints

Viacom said it would continue to press forward on new content ventures even as profit in its fiscal first quarter fell despite improved performance at its filmed-entertainment operations, and it grappled with a 6% decline in advertising revenue.

Viacom today is a story of execution, and evolution,” said Bob Bakish, the company’s CEO, during a conference call with investors. Viacom has been under investor scrutiny for months as it grapples with the defection of younger audiences from traditional TV viewing. The company’s cable networks skew toward younger viewers, who have begun to adopt new technology like broadband streaming video more rapidly than older counterparts. Bakish put emphasis on a new slate of content being readied at Nickelodeon; new programming at MTV; and the company’s recent $340 million acquisition of streaming-video outlet Pluto TV,

The New York owner of MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon said net income came to $321 million, or 80 cents a share, compared with $537 million, or $1.33 a share, in the year-earlier period. The company said it eked out a slight gain in revenue during the period, which came to $3.09 billion, compared with $3.07 billion a year ago.

Overall results beat Wall Street estimates, but the company’s revenue fell short of analysts’ targets. Viacom said performance at its cable networks had been crimped by  unfavorable foreign-exchange impacts. Affiliate revenues rose, but advertising revenue fell 3% in the U.S. and 13% overseas.

The company’s filmed-entertainment operations provided a bright spot, with overall revenue increasing 14%. Viacom cited the performance of “Bumblebee” and “Instant Family” as factors in the improved results.

One analyst struck a skeptical tone about the results, noting that Viacom appeared to be using revenue from other areas of its business to augment its affiliate fee results. Viacom said it would reclassify certain parts of its business segmentation, said Todd Juenger of Bernstein Research, in a Tuesday research note. He also noted two charges in the results, a $71 million for restructuring and one totaling $77 million for a writedown of programming. ” The path to ‘growth’ by end of FY remains tough,” said Juenger.

A Viacom spokesman said the programming charge “resulted from new management decisions to cease use of certain programming.” Viacom has in recent months instilled new executives at its Nickelodeon and Paramount cable networks, and gave oversight of CMT to Chris McCarthy, the programming executive who oversees MTV, VH-1 and Logo.

Bakish said Nickelodeon had struck a content deal with Netflix that would result in the creation of two original animated films for the streaming-video service. The films will be based on Nickelodeon’s “The Loud House” series as well as its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.

He also indicated Viacom had bigger plans for Pluto TV, which he said “will unlock large library value for Viacom. As you know, we made the strategic decision two years ago to curtail the licensing of large library packages to SVOD with our streaming service in mind. As a result, we have lots of content to work with.”

More TV

  • Lara Logan and CBS News Have

    Lara Logan and CBS News Have Parted Ways

    Lara Logan, the journalist who gained wider renown covering war-torn spots in the Middle East for CBS News, is no longer with the network and has not been for several months. The split, disclosed as the result of Logan making an appearance over the weekend on a podcast in which she suggested news consumers ought [...]

  • Kate McKinnon Emily Lynne

    Audible, Broadway Video Ink Production Deal for Comedy Originals (EXCLUSIVE)

    Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and Amazon’s Audible have struck a deal to create multiple audio-only original comedy programs for Audible listeners, Variety has learned, starting with an absurdist medieval series created by “Saturday Night Live” star Kate McKinnon and her sister Emily Lynne. “Heads Will Roll” is the first of Audible and Broadway Video’s joint [...]

  • A still from Leaving Neverland by

    'Leaving Neverland' Director Open to Potential Sequel to Controversial Michael Jackson Doc

    Ahead of its March 3 premiere on HBO, “Leaving Neverland” director Dan Reed tells Variety he is open to creating a follow-up to his controversial four-hour documentary revolving around sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson. If, that is, he would be able make contact with the King of Pop’s earlier high-profile accusers, Jordan Chandler and [...]

  • Roadside Attractions Acquires Drama Pilot 'The

    Roadside Attractions Acquires Drama Pilot 'The Golden Cage'

    Roadside Attractions Television has acquired one-hour drama pilot “The Golden Cage.” Described as a female-driven Wall Street thriller, the project hails from writer Oskar Nordmark. Darryl Taja (pictured) will serve as executive producer through his Epidemic Pictures. Adam Rodin will also exec produce. Nordmark created the series and will serve as co-executive producer. Roadside Attractions’ [...]

  • Hulu Adds Another Interactive Ad: This

    Hulu Adds Another Interactive Ad: This One Lets You Get Offers Via Email

    Hulu lets its subscribers choose the show they want to see. Now the video-streaming service is increasingly letting users choose to respond to certain commercials right away. A commercial from Sleep Number, the manufacturer of the bed with an adjustable mattress, that has run on Hulu for the past several weeks allows viewers to request [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content