Viacom posted strong first-quarter 2019 financial results on Tuesday as the media and entertainment company’s earnings beat Wall Street expectations. Paramount Pictures produced double-digit revenue thanks, in part, to “Bumblebee” and “Instant Family.”
“Through strong execution of our strategic priorities, we delivered another quarter of solid financial and operational results,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement. “Beyond the growth at our flagship networks and the resurgence of Paramount Pictures, we took a major step forward in our evolution with an agreement to acquire Pluto TV. This service will create a scaled direct-to-consumer offering for Viacom, and expand our opportunities in next-generation distribution and advanced advertising. With this momentum, we are progressing toward a return to topline growth in 2019 as Viacom continues to evolve for the future.”
Viacom reported adjusted earnings of $1.12 per share, up compared with the $1.03 per share the company reported during the same quarter a year ago, and above analysts expectations for $1.03 per share, according to forecasts gathered by Yahoo Finance.
Revenue for the quarter was $3.09 billion, up slightly compared with the $3.07 billion Viacom reported in the year-earlier period. However, revenue for the quarter fell short of analysts’ expectations via Yahoo Finance of $3.12 billion.
Viacom said that Paramount Pictures delivered double-digit topline growth, as the studio had its eighth straight quarter of improved year-over-year adjusted operating results.
Paramount Pictures overall revenue was $621 million, compared with last year when revenue declined 28 percent to $544 million. Theatrical revenue for the 2019 first quarter contributed $$149 million; home entertainment contributed $178 million, revenue from licensing contributed $220 million and ancillary revenues contributed $74 million.
“Filmed Entertainment revenue growth was primarily driven by strength in theatrical revenues,” Viacom said in its first-quarter earnings report, also pointing to the improvement in licensing revenue from TV production and ancillary revenues. “Theatrical revenue gains were largely due to the performances of ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘Instant Family’ compared to releases in the prior year quarter.”
“Bumblebee,” which was released Dec. 21, grossed $455.3 million worldwide at the box office, while “Instant Family” grossed $95.4 million worldwide since being released Nov. 16.
Viacom’s media networks, which include MTV, VH1, BET and Comedy Central, saw revenue drop slightly to $2.5 billion, compared with $2.6 billion during the same quarter a year ago.
Viacom’s Paramount TV saw increased production, including the first-quarter release of “The Haunting of Hill House” on Netflix, which helped drive Paramount TV revenue up more than 84 percent year-over-year in the quarter.
In January Viacom announced an agreement to acquire Pluto TV for $340 million, which it expects to close next quarter. The free streaming service boasts more than 12 million monthly active users (as of December 2018), 7.5 million of whom are on connected TVs. Pluto TV offers has 100 live linear channels and more than 5,000 hours of on-demand content, including movies, news, sports, general entertainment and digital series.