Viacom Shows Improvement in Q3

Gains at MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount drive improved performance for the media giant.

GLOBAL–Viacom management’s plan to revitalize the company appears to be paying off with quarterly revenues up 8 percent and continued gains for the film and TV units in the third quarter of fiscal 2017.

Revenue in fiscal Q3 (ended June 30) was $3.36 billion, up from $3.1 billion in the same period last year, an increase of $257 million.

"In the third quarter, Viacom strengthened its top line, with growth in advertising and affiliate revenues and gains across its Filmed Entertainment segment, while continuing to execute on a strategic plan to reinvigorate our brands, break down silos, deepen our relationships with business partners and reposition Paramount for the future,” says Bob Bakish, president and CEO, Viacom. "Every day we are working hard to reinvent Viacom and revitalize its brands for the future, and the early, tangible results are encouraging. There remains much work to be done, but we will continue to build on this progress for our shareholders, partners and fans."

The companies Media Networks division grew 2 percent to $2.56 billion in the quarter, with affiliate revenues up 4 percent to $1.19 billion.

Under six months of new leadership, MTV recorded year-over-year ratings growth in June for the first time since 2011, and claimed four of the top 30 cable series in the quarter, including a rebooted “Fear Factor,” the network's highest-rated new series in the last two years.

Nickelodeon continued to dominate the ratings in its major demographics, with nine of the top 10 shows for kids ages 2 to 11 and four of the top five shows for kids ages 2 to 5. It grew year-over-year ratings by 5 percent and has remained the No. 1 kids’ network for eight consecutive quarters.

Meanwhile, the company’s Filmed Entertainment unit saw revenues grow 36 percent to $847 million. Domestic revenues rose 19 percent to $388 million in the quarter, while international revenues increased 56 percent to $459 million.

Licensing revenues increased 1 percent to $300 million in the quarter, but domestic licensing revenues were down 9 percent due to the mix of titles available in the pay-TV window. International licensing revenues, however, grew 7 percent, reflecting higher revenues from arrangements with SVOD distributors.

In June, Paramount announced the establishment of Paramount Players, a new production division that will develop, produce and market feature films in collaboration with Viacom's flagship brands. AwesomenessTV founder Brian Robbins will lead the division as president and Viacom expects to see gains from this initiative.

The studio also recently named filmmaker and producer Mireille Soria as president of Paramount Animation to oversee the group's operations and work with Viacom's teams to guide the creative development and production of its animated feature slate.

Transformers: The Last Knight was a significant driver of the division success in Q3, opening at No. 1 in the U.S. and in 53 markets internationally, including China.

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