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Viacom's Revenue Increases on Film Division Growth

By Kimberly Chin 

Viacom Inc. said revenue grew in its latest quarter, boosted by an increase from sales in the company's film division, seen as a bright spot for growth.

Viacom, the parent of Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, said third-quarter revenue edged up 3.7% to $3.36 billion. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, revenue rose 6%. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting revenue of $3.32 billion.

Filmed entertainment revenue, which includes Paramount Pictures, rose 14% to $877 million driven by strong licensing and home-entertainment sales. The company highlighted the success of movies like "Rocketman" and "Pet Sematary."

Revenue from its media-networks division was roughly flat at $2.5 billion in the quarter compared with a year earlier. The company said domestic revenue was buoyed by strong advertising performance, especially from its marketing-solutions segment, which grew in the quarter, ended June 30.

On Wednesday, Viacom said it would acquire Paws Inc., the holding company that owns the rights to the cartoon cat Garfield. The move falls in line with the company's strategy of buying well-known intellectual property as fodder for programming it can show on its own cable networks and sell to streaming services such as those offered by Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.

Viacom's U.S. "affiliate revenue," as carriage fees and other distribution deals are referred to in financial reports, was $988 million, down 1.4% from a year earlier. Viacom has said it expects domestic affiliate revenue to return to growth after years of stagnation.

Overall the company's profit rose 4.2% from a year earlier to $544 million, or $1.35 a share. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $1.20 a share, up from $1.18 a share. Analysts were expecting adjusted earnings of $1.07 a share.

The company's Class B shares rose 0.8% in premarket trading.

Viacom is in talks to merge with its sister company, CBS Corp., and the two companies recently reached a working agreement on which executives will take major roles at the combined company. The timing of that deal is uncertain.

Write to Kimberly Chin at kimberly.chin@wsj.com

 

Corrections & Amplifications

This article was corrected at 10:15 a.m. ET because the original incorrectly stated that the company's revenue, excluding the impact of foreign exchange, rose 3% in the third quarter. It rose 6%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 08, 2019 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)

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