Viacom posts double digit gains in revenues for Q1 2004

MUMBAI: Viacom, which has just released its results for the first quarter of 2004, says its revenues have jumped 12 per cent to a record $6.8 billion from $6.1 billion for the same quarter last year. A 21 per cent gain in overall advertising revenues, totaling $3.2 billion drove the record earnings, says a company release.


First quarter operating income increased 20% to $1.2 billion from $987 million, led by strong growth of 24% in cable networks, 38% in television and 55% in the entertainment segment.


Viacoms bottom line results for the first quarter were equally robust, says the company, with an operating income growth of 20% and, excluding the tax benefit, a gain in net earnings of nearly 30%. The company says it is on track to deliver full year 2004 revenue growth of five to seven per cent, operating income growth of 12 per cent to 14 per cent and earnings per share growth of 13 per cent to 15 per cent.

For the quarter, Viacom's Cable Networks revenues (which includes MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, CMT, Comedy Central, BET and Showtime Networks) increased 21 per cent to $1.4 billion from $1.2 billion and operating income increased 24 per cent to $536 million from $432 million. Comedy Central, which was acquired in May 2003, contributed nine per cent to Cable Networks' revenue growth and 10 per cent to operating income growth for the quarter, claims the company.

The revenue increases were driven by higher advertising, affiliate fees and ancillary revenues. Cable Networks' advertising revenues grew 33 per cent led by growth of 35 per cent at MTV Networks and 16 per cent at BET.

The company's Television (CBS and UPN Television Networks and Stations; Television Production and Syndication) revenues increased 18 per cent to $2.3 billion from $1.9 billion, and operating income increased 38 per cent to $336 million from $243 million. CBS and UPN Networks, says the company, together delivered 26 per cent higher advertising revenues principally driven by the telecast of Super Bowl XXXVIII, the NCAA Mens Basketball Championship and the strength of CBS primetime.

The Stations group advertising revenues increased 14 per cent, benefiting from the major sports events on CBS during the first quarter, higher advertising revenues from key industries (automotive, leisure and media, and transportation) as well as higher political spending.

For the quarter, the company's radio revenues increased three per cent to $455 million from $444 million and operating income increased five per cent to $199 million from $191 million.

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