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Viacom Tops Q2 Earnings Expectations With Boost From ‘Bumblebee’

But Paramount Pictures’ parent company misses on revenue forecasts

Viacom topped earnings-per-share forecasts for the company’s fiscal second-quarter of 2019, but the Paramount parent fell shy on the media analysts’ consensus for revenue.

Wall Street foresaw the company’s Q2 earnings per share coming in at 80 cents on $3.06 billion in revenue, per a Yahoo Finance consensus estimate. Viacom on Friday actually reported adjusted EPS of 95 cents per share on $2.96 billion in revenue.

The Paramount Pictures releases “Bumblebee” (Dec. 21, 2018) and “What Men Want” (Feb. 8, 2019) helped parent company Viacom achieve 3% growth in profit versus the fiscal second quarter of 2018. Viacom’s net earnings this time around were $383 million.

Overall revenues slipped 6% versus the comparable quarter last year, but the reported $172 million in theatrical ticket sales rose 244%. The filmed entertainment segment felt a 34% decline in licensing revenue, partially offsetting the box office boon.

Revenues at the company’s TV networks like MTV and Nickelodeon declined as ad sales slipped 7% from the Q2 2018 benchmark.

Viacom said that at the end of April 2019, which is part of its fiscal third quarter, free-streaming television service Pluto TV’s monthly active users rose 31% above December 2018’s check-in, totaling approximately 16 million.

“This quarter we executed strongly on our strategic priorities and made significant progress in advancing our evolution,” Bob Bakish, Viacom president & CEO, said in a statement accompanying the financial report. “We grew viewership share at our flagship networks, accelerated our Advanced Marketing Solutions and continued our momentum at Paramount Pictures. We also achieved important milestones in expanding our distribution across traditional, digital and mobile platforms, while dramatically improving our audience reach through the integration of Pluto TV. 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.”

Company stock (VIAB) closed Thursday at $28.50 per share, up a dime. The U.S. stock markets will reopen at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning.

Bakish and other Viacom executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter in greater detail.