Film Unit Fuels Q3 Surge at Viacom

Transformers Leads Media Giant to Strong Quarter; Dauman Unconcerned About WGA Strike

Feature film Transformers fueled top-line growth at Viacom while the company quelled investor concerns over a Writers Guild of America strike.

Viacom’s revenue climbed 24% in the third quarter to $3.27 billion with a 9% increase in media networks to $1.99 billion and a 57% surge in filmed entertainment to $1.3 billion on the back of higher theatrical intake led by Transformers. The network growth was fueled by a 7% rise in worldwide advertising and a 14% rise in affiliate fees.

The company’s operating income in the third quarter rose 25% to $815 million. Media networks grew 2% to $796.8 million while film was up $80 million in the quarter to $71.7 million. Network expenses rose 13% led by programming and compensation. Film revenue was affected by higher print and advertising for Transformers.

Net income for the quarter was up 27% to $450 million and earnings per share were $0.67 excluding a $192 million gain on the sale of Famous Music. With the gain from the sale included, the net was up 80%.

On the company’s conference call this morning, president and CEO Philippe Dauman said a writers’ strike would have little impact on its television business, but he did express concern over some of Viacom’s programming.

“Probably the couple of shows that certainly over the next few months are impacted, that we have to look at, are The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report), because of their topical nature,” Dauman said. “If there should be a strike, we’ll evaluate what we do in those time slots.”