Viacom Reports Mixed Second Quarter as ‘Bumblebee’, ‘What Men Want’ Boost Theatrical Revenue

Viacom (VIA, VIAB) reported mixed fiscal second quarter results on Friday, with an unexpected gain in adjusted earnings but revenue that came in below expectations for the parent company of MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures. 

Revenue fell 6% to $2.96 billion, missing the consensus on Capital IQ for $3.06 billion. Adjusted earnings rose to $0.95 a share from $0.92 in the same period of 2018, while the Street was expecting $0.81 a share. 

“We executed strongly on our strategic priorities and made significant progress in advancing our evolution,” said Bob Bakish, the company’s chief executive. “We grew viewership share at our flagship networks, accelerated our Advanced Marketing Solutions and continued our momentum at Paramount Pictures.” 

Revenue in the filmed entertainment segment fell 1% to $730 million, but within the group theatrical revenue more than tripled to $172 million “driven by strong carryover performance and current quarter releases,” Viacom said. “Paramount continued its global box office momentum in the fiscal second quarter, driven by ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘What Men Want’.” 

Media networks revenue fell 7% to $2.27 billion amid declines in advertising, affiliate and consumer products revenue, the company said. 

“Domestic affiliate revenue declined due to SVOD library licensing, which was halted while finalizing Pluto TV’s content strategy,” Viacom said, referring to its streaming-video and online television service. “Contractual rate increases were largely offset by subscriber declines.” 

Viacom said Pluto TV monthly active users grew to 16 million at the end of April, up 31% from December. The company also rolled out 14 library channels on the service, widening content offerings to children, women and African Americans. Pluto Latino, the US Hispanic channels, will launch in July and the company has plans to expand in Latin America, Switzerland, the UK, Germany and Austria. 

“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,” Bakish said. 

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