Though its revenue held steady, media conglomerate Viacom’s net profit plummeted 69% last quarter to $173 million as a result of a tough ad market and plunging DVD sales, it reported on Thursday.
The company took a hit in December after announcing restructuring plans, including cutting 850 jobs and that senior management salaries would be frozen.
Revenue stayed flat at $4.2 billion and revenue in the two main business units – film and cable television – was effectively flat, with cable TV revenue up 1%.
Viacom’s chairman, Sumner Redstone, has been choked by a crushing debt and the tight credit market. His holding company National Amusements was forced to sell off pieces of Viacom and CBS stock to pay off loan agreements.
Redstone said on a conference call that an agreement between National Amusements and its bank lenders is "within reach."
Redstone said: "I can confirm that NAI has not sold, and does not expect to be required to sell by its lenders, another share" of either company.
Profit from filmed entertainment fell 81% in the fourth quarter to $22% and a slump in DVD sales brought home entertainment sales down 6% to $1.02 billion.
Still, theatrical revenue jumped $28% to $350 million, largely due to the smash hit "Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa." CEO Philippe P. Dauman said that Paramount’s upcoming slate was strong, and that the company was banking on the anticipated success of blockbusters like J.J. Abrams’ "Star Trek," "Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen" and "G.I. Joe."