Viacom 3Q Ad Revenue to Fall Short of Goals

Dauman blames 'short-term ratings issues'
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Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said that advertising revenue growth this quarter will fall short of the company's double digit targets.

Dauman's comments, made at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference Thursday, help send Viacom shares plunging more than 8% -- a bigger drop than other media companies on a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average was  down more than 300 points in midday trading.

"What held us back from being double digits this quarter was short-term ratings issues with some of our networks," Dauman said. He pointed to Nick at Nite as an example of a Viacom channel that had recently added new programming to its lineup and should perform better next quarter.

During the company's last earnings conference call with analysts, Viacom, whose ad revenue growth has generally trailed others in the cable network business, said it was targeting double digit domestic ad sales growth this quarter after registering a 12% gain April through June.

Dauman said that overall, the company was seeing no signs that the overall slowdown in the economy was affecting the ad market.

"Despite the macroeconomic headlines, the tone of the advertising market remains strong," he said, adding that ad time reserved during the upfront market was turning into firm orders.

"It's early, but scatter pricing into that quarter is up in the teens over the new upfront pricing," Dauman said. "Naturally that's one of the reasons the upfront orders have held so well."

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