Viacom Revenues Fall 5% in Fourth Quarter

Domestic ad sales down 7%
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Hit by lower advertising sales and a strong dollar, Viacom reported lower revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter.

Net income rose to $884 million, or $2.21 a share, from $732 million, or $1.72 a share a year ago, but that includes a one-time tax benefit of $258 million. Adjusted net earnings fell 16%.

Revenues fell 5% to $3.79 billion. Excluding the impact of the strong dollar, revenues were down 2%, but domestic advertising revenues were down 7%.

The company said the ad revenue drop reflected a decline in traditional television ratings.

Operating income for Viacom’s Media Networks unit, which includes Nickelodeon and MTV, was down 6% to $1.022 billion. The company said it had higher programming and marketing expenses.

Total revenues for Viacom’s Media Network were up 5% to $2.7 million as affiliate revenue grew 15% in the U.S. and 10% worldwide.

“Viacom's fourth quarter and year-end results are indicative of our progress in key areas, including recent ratings improvement and renewals of important distribution agreements,” said CEO Philippe Dauman. “Our strategy of increasing and accelerating investment in original content and expanding our profitable international footprint are among the major factors driving this success, which we believe will continue in 2016 and beyond.”

“We are making great progress in tackling industry-wide inefficiencies in audience measurement, while expanding our audience reach with landmark distribution agreements,” Dauman said. "Viacom's family of Media Networks are the most watched by highly coveted younger audiences, and we are building engagement on all platforms, leading to first-of-their-kind marketing opportunities with our advertising partners.”

Dauman added that during fiscal 2015 Viacom launched 21 channels overseas including six in India, resulting in the fastest international growth in the company’s history.

Operating income for Viacom’s filmed entertainment unit was down 43% compared to a year ago, when it released Transformers: Age of Extinction.

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