Paramount Pictures Box Office Growth Pushes Viacom Beyond Q1 Forecasts

Company lays out that promised “new strategic vision”

viacom earnings
Viacom's logo on the iconography of a dollar bill

Viacom beat Wall Street’s expectations for its fiscal first quarter of 2017, despite a profit-drop from last time.

This morning, the Bob Bakish-led company reported $1.04 in earnings per share on $3.32 billion in revenue. While the granddaddy Media Networks segment ticked up 1 percent year over year at the top line, more sizable growth at the smaller Paramount Pictures actually carried the parent company across Wall Street’s goal line. Theatrical sales jumped 104 percent year over year, sparking a 24 percent increased at the Filmed Entertainment segment.

Media analysts had forecast earnings per share of 84 cents on $3.18 billion in revenue, according to Yahoo Finance. Also on the positive side, overall revenues rose 5 percent from Q1 2016.

“Viacom’s first quarter results reflect improvement in our core businesses, with increases in revenues and operating cash flow, continued strong international performance, including initial contributions from the acquisition of Telefe, and a return to positive growth in affiliate revenues,” Bakish said. “We are already benefiting from changes made early in the second quarter and seeing green shoots in our strongest businesses, as well as those that are poised for a turnaround. As we implement our strategy across the company, we believe we can drive significant value for shareholders.”

The president and CEO also revealed the new strategic vision he promised, which readers can check out in great detail here.

The basic gist is a focus on Viacom’s top six brands (BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount), the rebranding of Spike TV to The Paramount Network, and greater collaboration between film studio Paramount Pictures and those aforementioned cable channels.

Viacom stock (VIAB) closed Wednesday afternoon at $42.07, up 40 cents per share for the day. After-hours, it retreated $0.09.

The U.S. stock markets officially re-open at 9:30 a.m. ET this morning, but investors are likely what they see pre-market. At this time of this writing, VIAB is trading up nearly 6 percent per share, or around two-and-a-half bucks apiece.

Company executives will hold a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter in greater detail, though the new strategy will likely dominate the conversation.