Viacom Earnings Rise on Ratings Rebound, but Revenue Misses Mark

A weaker film slate drove revenues down 4 percent

Earnings rose 32 percent at Viacom during its first financial quarter, as ratings rebounded at its Nickelodeon and MTV networks — but the company’s revenue still missed projections.

The media giant reported earnings per share of $1.20, up from 91 cents a year ago, which beat Wall Street expectations.

Film losses at Paramount Pictures weighed down revenues for the three-month period ending in December. They fell 4 percent to $3.19 billion, compared to $3.3 billion for the year-ago quarter.

Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of  $1.15 per share and revenue of  $3.31 billion.

Also read: Time Warner Cable Earnings: Profit Rises 5 Percent

Net income at the company increased 16 percent to $547 million, up from $473 million in the year-ago quarter.

Viacom’s media networks, which include cable properties such as Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV, saw revenues rise 6 percent to $2.5 billion. Domestic advertising revenues increased 3 percent as the company began to shake off ratings troubles that had tripped it up in previous quarters.

That was particularly true on its children’s network, shows such as “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Dora the Explorer” and newcomers such as “Paw Patrol” have managed to retain or find audiences.

Its filmed entertainment division saw steep declines. Through Paramount Pictures, Viacom released the Martin Scorsese Oscar contender “Wolf of Wall Street” and the Will Ferrell comedy “Anchorman 2,” but still saw revenues plunge 30 percent to $681 million. The unit had a $74 million loss; an improvement on the $139 million loss the company logged in the same period a year ago.

“Once again, Viacom’s results reflect our significant investments in content, our deep connection with audiences and our ongoing financial discipline,” Philippe Dauman, president and chief executive officer of Viacom, said in a statement.