Viacom’s Media Networks revenue up 4.4 per cent; adjusted diluted EPS up 7.5 per cent

BENGALURU:  Viacom Inc (Viacom) reported a 4.4 per cent revenue growth for its Media Networks segment to $2654 million for its first quarter ended 31 December, 2014 (Q1-2015, current quarter) from $2541 million in the corresponding year ago quarter (Q1-2014).  ‘Adjusted operating income before tax’ from the segment dropped fractionally by 0.9 per cent to $1104 million in Q1-2015 from the $1114 million reported in Q1-2014.


The company reported an 8 per cent increase in ‘adjusted diluted EPS’ of $1.29 in Q1-2015 against $1.2 reported for Q1-2015. Adjusted Net Earnings totalled $538 million (includes a loss of $24 million due to pension settlement) down 1.6 per cent from $547 million in the year ago quarter.


Viacom executive chairman Sumner M. Redstone said, “Viacom's powerful entertainment brands continue to lead the way in reaching global audiences with groundbreaking content. Our outstanding management team has positioned Viacom for continued success.”


Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman added, “Viacom's focus on developing popular franchise properties and constantly expanding our growing international presence drove solid top line results and record earnings per share this quarter. We continued to deliver increased revenues in our media networks operations driven by steady growth in affiliate revenues, and also benefited from Paramount Pictures' Oscar-nominated Interstellar and our very successful company-wide franchise, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”


"The media business is evolving faster than ever, but our mission remains unchanged: to continually develop more and better entertainment programming and deliver it to our engaged audiences on every screen and on every platform worldwide. To maintain our leadership position, we will continue to innovate and to manage our business as effectively and efficiently as possible, embracing change and adopting new technologies to better measure and monetize our content and meet industry-wide challenges. Viacom is financially strong and extremely well positioned for the future, with the talent and the creativity to grow our core business and continue to deliver increasing value to our investors", informed Dauman.


Results and Revenues


Viacom reported a 7.9 per cent drop in profit after tax (PAT) for Viacom and non-controlling interests in Q1-2015 to $513 million (excludes a loss of $24 million due to pension settlement) from $547 million in Q1-2014. Operating income fell 2.6 per cent to $935 million from $960 million in the corresponding year ago quarter.


The company’s total revenues were up 4.6 per cent in Q1-2015 to $3344 million from $3197 million in Q1-2014. Revenues from the other segment that contributes to Viacom revenues – Filmed Entertainment were up 5.7 per cent in Q1-2015 to $720 million from $681 million in Q1-2015. Adjusted operating loss from this segment fell in Q1-2015 to $60 million from $74 million in the year ago quarter.


Media Networks


Revenues from Viacom’s major segment – Media Networks have been reported above. Three streams contribute to Viacom’s Media Networks segment – Advertising; Affiliate fees; and Ancillary. All the three reported increase in revenue.


Media Networks ‘Advertisement’ stream’s revenue in Q1-2015 at $1367 million was 3.2 per cent more y-o-y than the $1325 million in Q1-2014.  ‘Affiliate fees’ went up 6.2 per cent in the current quarter to $1132 million from $1066 million in the year ago quarter. Revenues from the ‘Ancillary’ stream increased 3.3 per cent to $155 million in Q1-2015 from $150 million in Q1-2014.


The company says that domestic affiliate revenues rose 8 per cent and worldwide affiliate revenues grew 6 per cent, primarily due to rate increases. Domestic advertising revenues declined 6 per cent, reflecting lower ratings. Worldwide advertising revenues rose 3 per cent, reflecting a 60 per cent increase in international advertising revenues driven by contributions from Channel 5, which was acquired by Viacom in September 2014. The 4.4 per cent increase in Media Networks revenues includes an unfavourable 1 per cent impact of foreign exchange.


Filmed Entertainment


Revenues from Viacom’s Filmed Entertainment segment improved 5.7 per cent in Q1-2015 to $720 million from $681 million in the corresponding year ago quarter.  Four streams contribute to Viacom’s Filmed Entertainment segment – theatrical; home entertainment; license fees; and ancillary. While revenues from the license fees stream fell, revenues from the other three streams improved in Q1-2015 as compared to Q1-2014.


Revenues from the ‘Theatrical’ stream increased 6.3 per cent to $316 million in the current quarter from $276 million in Q1-2014. The ‘Home Entertainment’ stream revenues in Q1-2015 improved by 16.2 per cent to $316 million from $272 million in the corresponding quarter of last year. As mentioned above, revenues from the License Fees stream fell 9.1 per cent to $189 million from $208 million. Revenues from the ‘Ancillary’ stream increased 9.5 per cent in Q1-2015 to $46 million from $42 million in Q1-2015.


Viacom says that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which was released theatrically in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2014 remained a strong performer in the current quarter, complementing the current quarter releases and helping to drive a 5.7 per cent increase in theatrical revenues and a 16.2 per cent gain in home entertainment revenues. Home entertainment revenues reflect two film releases in the current quarter, compared with none in the same prior year period. License fees declined 9.1 per cent resulting from the mix of available titles.


Stock Repurchase Program


For the quarter ended 31 December, 2014, Viacom repurchased 10.2 million shares under its stock repurchase program, for an aggregate purchase price of $750 million. As of 28 January, 2015, Viacom had $5.62 billion remaining in its $20 billion stock repurchase program. As of 31 December, 2014, Viacom had 407 million shares of common stock outstanding says the company.

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