New York -- Viacom Inc. cited significant growth in
MTV Networks' revenue and cash flow in a fourth-quarter report that included net
income from the sale of its share of USA Networks.
In the quarter, Viacom had $558 million in net income --
equal to $1.54 per share of stock on a fully diluted basis -- compared with a net loss of
$242.4 million (69 cents per share) in the same period in 1996. Viacom's pretax gain
of $1.2 billion from selling its 50 percent stake in USA Networks to Seagram Co. accounted
for the turnaround.
Viacom posted $509.6 million in cash flow during the
quarter, up 7 percent from $477.6 million a year ago.
For the year, the media giant's revenue rose 9
percent, to $13.2 billion from $12 billion the year before, and cash flow declined by 19
percent, to $1.7 billion from $2.1 billion, due to lower operating margins and
restructuring charges at the Blockbuster Entertainment unit.
MTV Networks' fourth-quarter revenue rose 28 percent,
to $510 million, and cash flow rose 25 percent, to $220 million, pumped mainly by
increased advertising revenue due to high ratings at Nickelodeon. Showtime Networks Inc.
reported that revenue rose 6 percent and cash flow rose 14 percent, driven by
direct-broadcast satellite gains. Network and broadcasting revenue overall rose 19
percent, to $834 million, and cash flow rose 14 percent, to $288 million.