Television

Viacom reports record revenue of $6.60 billion

NEW YORK: Things are looking up for media conglomerate Viacom. The MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures owner has announced record results for the third quarter ended 30 September.

For the quarter just ended, Viacom revenues increased by five per cent and touched a record $6.60 billion. For the corresponding quarter last year, the figure stood at $6.31 billion. The company has stated that there was growth in nearly every business segment. Contributing to the results was overall ad revenue growth of eight per cent to $2.88 billion. The operating income of $1.38 billion was led by gains of 20 per cent in cable networks, 19 per cent in television and 25 per cent in video.

Cable networks revenues increased 18 per cent to $1.47 billion from $1.24 billion, led by a 25 per cent increase in ad revenues. The increase in advertising revenues was driven by 26 per cent growth at MTV Networks and 24 per cent growth at BET. Comedy Central, acquired in May, contributed 11 per cent of cable networks' advertising revenue growth for the quartee.

Viacom CEO Sumner M. Redstone made the following remarks, "Viacom....continued to deliver value to shareholders by using our strong free cash flow to purchase our stock and to declare a quarterly dividend. Looking ahead, we remain confident that 2004 will be the best year in Viacom's history. It will be led by expectations of a continued economic resurgence, a return to the historic mix of growth in advertising markets and the favourable impact of unique programming and political events during the coming year."

Meanwhile, for the nine months ended 30 September, revenues increased by seven per cent to $19.07 billion from $17.83 billion in the same period last year. Looking ahead to 2004, the company expects to deliver revenue growth of five to seven per cent. This will result in operating income growth in the region of 12 to 14 per cent.

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