Viacom rode Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team to a better-than-expected fourth quarter in terms of both earnings per share and revenue.
The Paramount Pictures parent company unveiled its fourth-quarter and full fiscal year 2018 financials Friday morning, reporting 99 cents of earnings per share (EPS) on $3.485 in revenue. Wall Street had forecast EPS of 95 cents on $3.37 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate of 25 media analysts compiled by Yahoo Finance.
That all-in revenue figure was 5 percent better than Q4 2017 and the earnings per share is 29 percent higher. For the full fiscal year, revenues declined 2 percent, but EPS rose 9 percent. Without the benefit of glorious adjustments, that profit instead drops 43 percent.
Paramount’s worldwide box office hauled in 3x what it did in the comparable quarter last year, thanks mostly to “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” which to-date has grossed more than $800 million worldwide. John Krasinski’s very profitable “A Quiet Place” also contributed, as did “Book Club,” which was a cheap acquisition.
Paramount also pitched in on TV, delivering “Maniac” to Netflix in the quarter. In return, Viacom enjoyed higher licensing revenues.
Viacom’s media networks didn’t do as hot, but there were some linear-TV highlights, like Season 2 of “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation” on MTV. Millennials gobbled that up.
MTV has been making headlines lately with its push into live events. It’s also shooting for nostalgia, bringing back “MTV Spring Break,” sharing “The Real World” with Facebook Watch, reviving “The Hills,” and rebooting “Undressed.”
“Our strong performance in the fourth quarter capped off a pivotal year for Viacom. We successfully turned around our core business, with dramatic improvements across our networks, at Paramount and in distribution,” Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement accompanying the financials. “We also took important steps to evolve Viacom for the future – investing in our portfolio of advanced marketing solutions, digital and experiential offerings and global studio production business. As we head into 2019, we are excited about the company’s evolution and expect to return to topline growth.”
Bakish and other Viacom executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter and fiscal year in greater detail.
Shares of VIAB stock closed Thursday afternoon at $31.83, up 4 cents. The U.S. stock markets reopen at 9:30 a.m. ET today.
In pre-market trading, VIAB shares are currently trading up more than 5 percent.