Viacom Ad Revenue Rises 10% in 4th Quarter

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Ratings growth from a slate of new shows across its major cable networks helped lift domestic and international ad sales by double-digits at Viacom in the fiscal fourth quarter.

Overall revenue was up 9% to $3.65 billion at the parent of cable stalwarts MTV, BET and Comedy Central. Media Networks revenue rose 7% in the period to $2.46 billion, fueled by a 10% rise in domestic and international ad revenue and a 6% increase in affiliate-fee revenue.

In the period ended Sept. 30, ratings were up year-over-year at nearly every network in Viacom’s portfolio, including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Spike, CMT and Nick at Nite.

Nickelodeon in particular showed new life in the quarter. After fears that online deals were eroding ratings, Nick reported its greatest year-over-year ratings improvement in 16 years.

On a conference call with analysts, CEO Philippe Dauman noted that shows like Sam & Cat, The Haunted Hathaways and others enjoyed strong ratings, but that the network has yet to feel the full impact of its new shows. He added that Nick “is keeping its foot on the programming pedal, aggressively green-lighting a diverse new slate of series, increasing the volume in its content pipeline and building for the future.”

Adjusted operating income was up a strong 16%, driven by increases in the Media Networks and Filmed Entertainment businesses. Media Networks’ adjusted operating income rose 11%, while Filmed Entertainment AOI was up 49%.

For the fiscal year, total revenue dipped 1% to $13.79 billion, mainly because of a $538 million decline in Filmed Entertainment revenue. Media Networks revenue rose 5% to $9.66 billion in the fiscal year, driven by a 10% increase in domestic affiliate fees and a 3% rise in domestic ad sales.

Adjusted operating income grew 1% for the fiscal year to $3.94 billion, driven by a $204 million increase at Media Networks.

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