People/Biz

Viacom grows Q2 earnings by 3% despite slowdown in ad, affiliate revenues

New York-headquartered media conglomerate Viacom saw a slight rise in profit throughout its second quarter financials, even as overall year-on-year revenue declined 6%. The parent company of MTV, VH1, Logo and ...
May 10, 2019

New York-headquartered media conglomerate Viacom saw a slight rise in profit throughout its second quarter financials, even as overall year-on-year revenue declined 6%.

The parent company of MTV, VH1, Logo and BET touted an adjusted earnings increase of US$383 million, or 95 cents per share. The profits marked a 3.2% increase over last year’s $371 million, or 92 cents per share.

Total revenues for the quarter dropped by 6% to $2.96 billion compared to the $3.15 billion Viacom posted in the year-ago period.

Viacom’s Media Networks division, meanwhile, reported a decline in revenue of 7% to $2.267 billion. Domestic affiliate revenues declined due to SVOD library licensing, which was halted while finalizing Pluto TV’s content strategy.

Pluto TV, the ad-supported digital service acquired by Viacom in January, reported a surge of 31% in monthly active users at the end of April 2019 – part of its fiscal third quarter – compared to December 2018, totaling approximately 16 million subscribers. Viacom launched 14 library channels on Pluto TV in the quarter, broadening the content offering to kids, women and African Americans.

Viacom also plans to roll out its Pluto Latino service to supplement its U.S. Hispanic channels this July, with additional international launches in Latin America and Switzerland, and expansion in the U.K., Germany and Austria.

Advertising revenues in the quarter also slid by 7% to $1.033 billion due in part to a 19% drop in international ad sales, the company said. Domestic advertising revenues, however, saw improvements of 76%, driven by accelerating growth in the company’s Advanced Marketing Solutions (AMS) initiative, benefiting from the Pluto TV integration. Comparatively, AMS revenues in the fiscal first quarter rose 54%.

“This quarter we executed strongly on our strategic priorities and made significant progress in advancing our evolution. We grew viewership share at our flagship networks, accelerated our Advanced Marketing Solutions and continued our momentum at Paramount Pictures,” said Viacom president and CEO Bob Bakish (pictured) in a statement.

He added: “We also achieved important milestones in expanding our distribution across traditional, digital and mobile platforms, while dramatically improving our audience reach through the integration of Pluto TV. As the media landscape continues to segment across price points, we’re confident in our strategy, strong results and the opportunities ahead as we continue to position Viacom for the future.”

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