New York -- Double-digit gains at MTV Networks,
Paramount and Blockbuster Entertainment pushed Viacom to a narrower second-quarter loss
and a cash-flow rise of 23 percent, excluding one-time charges and discontinued publishing
Overall, Viacom's revenue rose 10 percent in the
quarter, to $3.32 billion, while its net loss from continuing operations rose to $281
million, or 83 cents per share, from $217 million (66 cents) in the same period a year
ago. The wider loss stemmed from a $437 million charge at Blockbuster during the quarter,
compared with a $323 million charge in the second quarter of 1997.
Except for Blockbuster charges, losses from continuing
operations dropped to $3 million (5 cents) from $14 million (8 cents) a year ago. Viacom
is selling its non-consumer-publishing businesses for $4.6 billion.
At MTV, cash flow rose 16 percent, to $147 million, and
revenue rose 25 percent, to $416 million, pushed by higher affiliate fees and advertising
revenue. Subtracting a loss at MTV Asia, cash flow rose 20 percent and revenue rose 24
Showtime Networks Inc. cash flow rose 14 percent and
revenue rose 6 percent, as direct-broadcast satellite growth pushed its subscriber count
up to 18.8 million from 17.1 million.
Blockbuster showed a 13 percent increase in same-store
rental revenue and, not counting the charge, the unit's cash flow rose 67 percent, to
$77 million. Viacom credited revenue-sharing arrangements with studios, which brought more
new-release tapes into the stores.
Paramount hits Deep Impact and The Truman Show
led to a 16 percent cash-flow increase and a 7 percent revenue rise at Viacom's
studio unit, which also includes Spelling Entertainment Group. Publishing cash flow fell
37 percent, to $35 million.