Solid Growth for Viacom, Cable Segment

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Viacom as a whole posted solid second-quarter-2006 results, as did its cable-network sector.

At the parent company, revenue rose 24% to $2.85 billion; operating income was up 14% to $663.2 million from a 2005 pro-forma amount of $582.7 million; net earnings from continuing operations increased 27% to $416 million from a 2005 pro-forma amount of $328.5 million; and consolidated free cash flow slipped to $137.5 million from $275.7 million in the year-ago period.

As for the media giant’s cable networks, revenue increased 8% to $1.75 billion, with domestic advertising revenue up 10% to $969.1 million and affiliate fees up 11% to $501.8 million; and operating income rose 12% to $710.3 million.

Viacom cited an aggregate 8% increase in programming and production costs on shows such as Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Mind of Mencia and Showbiz Show, as well as VH1 Rock Honors, partially offset by the non-renewal of Spike TV’s World Wrestling Entertainment package, Comedy’s Chappelle’s Show and one-time special VH1's Save the Music.

“We have a great foundation from which to take full advantage of the growth opportunities we see ahead by not only expanding on our traditional businesses, but also by profitably integrating new platforms with significant future growth potential,” Viacom executive chairman Sumner M. Redstone said in a prepared statement.

CEO Tom Freston added, “To that end, digital traffic continues to grow significantly across all of our broadband properties, and we believe MTV Networks is now the world's largest provider of video content to the mobile phone. In addition, our digital acquisitions -- such as Xfire, GameTrailers.com and NeoPets -- are operating very well, and we are thrilled about our new distribution partnership with Google. And today, we announced the acquisition of Atom Entertainment [www.multichannel.com/article/CA6361267.html?display=Breaking+News], a leader in casual gaming and short-form video that will extend our connection with some of our key audiences.”

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