Affiliate Subscription Fees Could Help Viacom

Analyst says Nickelodeon, Comedy Central could help drive growth

One securities analyst liked what he saw in

Viacom's third-quarter earnings

, despite the 37% drop in revenues.

Martin Pyykkonen of Wunderlich Securities, said Tuesday he was maintaining a buy rating on the stock, though reducing his price target from $32 to $25, which he said was a reflection of the general valuation reduction for the media sector in general.

That buy rating came thanks, in part, to the boost in affiliate subscription fees, which were up 13%, despite the weakness in the U.S. ad market, which was down 3% in the third quarter.

He singled out Nickelodeon as one of the top brands that could drive more affiliate fee growth, as could the rise of Comedy Central.

"Affiliate fee revenue could have upside potential from new cable operator deals," he wrote, "especially on properties such as Comedy Central, which have affiliate fee arrangements that date back several years, e.g., with notably lower audience assumptions at that time."

He also saw upside in the theatrical sector in 2009 with the upcoming release of Star Trek (a planned spring release) and another Transformers movie.