Fast Track


The Earnings Reported

Viacom reported a 5% gain in revenue to $6.6 billion and a 7% gain in operating income to $1.38 billion for the third quarter. For the full year, it predicted mid- to high-single-digit growth in revenue and operating income. For full year 2004, Viacom expects revenue growth in the 5%-7% range with operating income growth of 12%-14%.

Viacom President/COO Mel Karmazin described not CBS but the cable-network unit as the "crown jewel" in the company's portfolio. The cable nets delivered an 18% revenue gain in the quarter to $1.5 billion with a 20% gain in operating income to $613 million. The television unit (CBS, UPN and TV stations) generated a 5% revenue gain to $1.9 billion, with a 19% increase in operating income to $362 million...

Also last week, Time Warner (AOL has been taken out of its corporate name) reported a 4% gain in third-quarter revenue to $10.3 billion, an operating income gain of 7% to $1.4 billion. AOL is still a problem child: Its revenues fell 5% and it lost 688,000 subscribers during the quarter. But the cable unit had a solid quarter, posting a 10% gain in revenues to $1.9 billion on a 6% operating-income gain to $394 million.

Filmed entertainment revenues were down 7% largely due to a shortfall, compared with a year ago, of syndicated-TV revenue. Last year at this time, Warner Bros. was still counting money from off-network sales from Will & Grace, Seinfeld and Third Watch.

The broadcast and cable networks division posted a 10% revenue gain to $2 billion with a 9% gain in operating income to $509 million. Subscription revenue was up 9%, and ad revenue was up 14% at the Turner networks and up 22% at The WB...

Belo also reported earnings, posting a 1% gain in third-quarter TV-division revenue to $160.7 million, with a 6% gain in operating income to $56 million. For the first nine months of the year, TV revenue was flat at $474 million with $161 million in operating income, up just 1%.

NATPE's New Tartikoff Award

NATPE, in association with Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and Variety, will hand out the first annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards to recognize excellence, leadership and passion in TV programming during the convention in January. Nominations should be submitted to by Oct. 30.

Much More News

Pfizer VP of Ad Services Kaki Hinton and Verizon VP of Media and Sponsorships Bill McCarron are the new co-chairs of the Family Friendly Programming Forum, the group of 45 national advertisers that provides funding for developing family-friendly scripts...

We saw this coming: ABC last week pulled the plug on its planned reality-awards show because the other "Big Three" networks were unwilling to participate...

Outdoor Life Network today debuts its programming block dubbed the Combat Zone, with shows like SAS: Are You Tough Enough?, a reality show that follows the trials of individuals seeking to qualify for the British Secret Air Service. Tuesday night's X-Fire combines paintball with secret-agent–type missions. ...

Miami-based Newlink Communications Group will launch Oppenheimer Presenta, a Spanish-language, pan-regional political news program that it says will reach more than 57 million households in 16 Latin American countries on one of the region's strongest syndication lineups, including Televisa in Mexico, Venevision in Venezuela, and Univision in Puerto Rico. The show is distributed by Miami-based PTL Latino.