Viacom reports 16 % increase in revenues for 2001

Entertainment conglomerate Viacom has reported results for the full year and fourth quarter ended 31 December, 2001. For the full year 2001, Viacom reported a 16 per cent increase in revenues to $23.22 billion, a 28 per cent gain in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to $4.55 billion and an 80 per cent increase in free cash flow to $3.0 billion, or $1.70 per diluted share. In 2000 revenues were $20.04 billion..

However for the fourth quarter of 2001, Viacom reported revenues of $6.04 billion, EBITDA of $1.06 billion and free cash flow of $1.38 billion, or $.77 per diluted share a decline from versus revenues of $6.36 billion, EBITDA of $1.36 billion and free cash flow of $942 million, or $.61 per diluted share, for the same prior-year period. 

Viacom reported a net loss of $224 million, or a loss of $.13 per share for the year ended 31 December 2001. This included a net loss of $43 million, or a loss of $.02 per share, for the fourth quarter. Full year and fourth quarter results include one-time charges to EBITDA for Blockbuster, MTV Networks and UPN of $512 million, of which $159 million is reflected in the fourth quarter. 

An official release states that as previously projected, the Company believes that, if current economic conditions continue, Viacom will achieve double-digit pro forma EBITDA growth for the full year 2002. While economic trends in the first quarter of 2002 continue to mirror the soft conditions experienced in the fourth quarter of 2001, the Company believes there is potential to outperform its current 2002 projection should the economic climate improve materially..

Chairman and CEO Viacom Sumner M Redstone said: "Viacom's results clearly demonstrate our ability to excel under unprecedented negative economic conditions. We delivered on our promises in 2001, which is a tribute to the strength of our assets, the breadth of our leading brands and, most of all, to the talent and commitment of our world-class management team. Despite the continuing soft economic climate, we are committed to pushing ahead to aggressively generate internal growth and to pursuing accretive acquisitions in our core competencies." 

The release informs that for the 19th consecutive quarter, MTV was the No. 1 cable network for the core 12-to 24-year-old audience. For the first time in MTV's 20 year history, five series delivered ratings of 2.0 or higher for ages 12-34, including Real World X, which was the top-rated cable series of 2001 on Tuesday nights.

Nickelodeon finished 2001 with its biggest kids' audience in its 22-year history and advanced its standing (25 consecutive quarters) as basic cable's No. 1 network among kids and households in total day for 2001 and fourth quarter. No such luck in India though. 

For the year, Entertainment reported revenues of $2.95 billion and EBITDA of $317 million, versus revenues of $2.76 billion and EBITDA of $369 million in the prior year. For the quarter, Entertainment reported revenues of $785 million and EBITDA of $28 million versus revenues of $701 million and EBITDA of $25 million in the prior year period. 

The full year and fourth quarter results reflect higher features and theaters revenues, principally led by higher home video revenues However, the full year increases were more than offset by the print and advertising costs associated with the higher number of pictures in theatrical release during the second half of the year.

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