Tags: US | Earns | Viacom

Cost Cutting Boosts Viacom's Earnings

Thursday, 11 Feb 2010 11:05 AM

Viacom Inc., the media conglomerate controlled by billionaire Sumner Redstone, said Thursday that lower expenses helped it boost fourth-quarter profits.

Its shares rose 2 percent to $29.13 in premarket trading.

The company owns media properties including the MTV and Nickelodeon cable networks, the "Rock Band" video-game franchise and the Paramount film studio, which has been slashing costs and focusing on a smaller slate of films.

The studio also offset a sharp decline in box office revenue with strong results from the DVD release of "Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen," "Star Trek" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra."

But the results showed Viacom is still suffering from a slump in ad sales.

Viacom as well as The Walt Disney Co., another big cable channel operator, have said the rates advertisers are willing to pay for commercial time has climbed from the doldrums of the recession. But Viacom's ad revenue was still down 3 percent in the fourth quarter.

Overall, the company earned $694 million, or $1.14 per share, in the last three months of 2009. That was up from $173 million, or 28 cents per share, a year ago.

One reason for the jump, however, was a $454 million charge a year ago related to layoffs. Adjusted to strip out one-time items, earnings were up more modestly to $1.09 per share from 76 cents a year ago.

Revenue, meanwhile, slipped 3 percent to $4.1 billion from $4.2 billion.

But its total expenses fell 20 percent to $3 billion from $3.77 billion a year ago.

Analysts, who typically exclude unusual items, expected 88 cents per share and revenue of $4.2 billion.

Full-year earnings totaled $1.61 billion, or $2.65 per share, compared with $1.25 billion, or $2 per share, the year before. Revenue fell 7 percent to $13.62 billion.

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Viacom Inc., the media conglomerate controlled by billionaire Sumner Redstone, said Thursday that lower expenses helped it boost fourth-quarter profits.Its shares rose 2 percent to $29.13 in premarket trading.The company owns media properties including the MTV and...
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Thursday, 11 Feb 2010 11:05 AM
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