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Viacom Revs Down, Adjusted Net Earnings Up - Broadcasting & Cable

Viacom Revs Down, Adjusted Net Earnings Up

Filmed entertainment profits, cost-cutting and affiliate fees help "temper" effects of recession
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Viacom reported fourth quarter 2009 revenues of $4.098 billion on Feb. 11, down 3% from 4Q 2008. Full-year revenues were down 7%, to $13.619 billion, reflecting decreases in feature films, advertising and ancillary revenues.

Theatrical revenues were down 73% year-over-year, to $93 million in the quarter. Media network revenues were down 5%, to $8.29 billion, due to lower ad and ancillary revenues, somewhat offset by a boost in affiliate fees.

But thanks to cost-cutting and strong filmed entertainment profits (Transformers, Star Trek, Paranormal Activity), adjusted operating income was actually up 24% for the quarter and adjusted net earnings were up 43% for the quarter, according to the company.

"Despite the economic challenges, we performed extremely well across our media networks and motion picture operations," said Viacom Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone in a statement.

Viacom President & CEO Philippe Dauman cited the "resurgence" of BET and ratings gains at MTV as among the cable brands whose multiple revenue streams helped "temper" the effects of the economic slump.

Viacom said its debt had decreased from $8 billion on Dec. 31, 2008, to $6.77 on Dec. 31, 2009.

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