Viacom Inc., the owner of MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures, said Friday that its net income increased 37 percent in the latest quarter thanks to growing advertising sales and higher fees from cable TV and other companies that carry its channels.
The results sent Viacom's stock nearly 5 percent higher in morning trading.
The media company, which is controlled by billionaire Sumner Redstone, earned $574 million, or 97 cents per share, in the fiscal third quarter that ended on June 30. That's up 37 percent from $420 million, or 69 cents per share, a year earlier.
Adjusted earnings were 99 cents per share. That's well above the 86 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet were expecting. This figure excludes what Viacom called "employee separation" charges totaling about $14 million. Judy McGrath, the CEO of MTV Networks, stepped down during the quarter after 30 years with the network, which she helped shape into a cultural icon.
MTV has been enjoying a resurgence fueled by can't-look-away reality shows such as "Jersey Shore" and "16 and Pregnant." Viacom said MTV did well even without "Jersey Shore" on the lineup during the quarter. The fourth season of "Jersey Shore" premiered on Thursday.
Viacom's revenue rose 15 percent to $3.77 billion from $3.28 billion. Analysts were expecting $3.52 billion.
President and CEO Philippe Dauman said the "breadth of hit programming found across Viacom's media network portfolio" is contributing to strong advertising growth.
Worldwide advertising revenue grew 14 percent to $1.28 billion, while U.S. ad sales increased 12 percent during the quarter. The U.S. and worldwide growth rates were slightly higher than what Viacom saw in the previous quarter, further sign that the advertising market is improving.
Viacom said revenue at its media networks segment, which includes MTV, Nickelodeon and other TV channels, grew 16 percent to $2.39 billion. The company's filmed entertainment segment, which includes Paramount, saw revenue increase 13 percent to $1.41 billion thanks to gains in DVD sales and TV license revenue.
Viacom's widely traded Class B shares rose $2.15, or 4.9 percent, to $46.25 in morning trading Friday. The stock has traded in the 52-week range of $30.39 to $52.67.
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