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Streaming bites Viacom as revenue drops 14 per cent

Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator is one of three films funded by Viacom this year

Viacom Inc – parent company to MTV and Nickelodeon and owner of a Paramount film studio – posted lower-than-expected profits on Friday and a revenue drop of 14 per cent.

The media conglomerate has been hurt by weak advertising sales at its U.S. cable networks and a poor showing at the box office for the movies it chose to back at its Paramount studios, namely Madagascar 3, The Dictator and Titanic 3D.

It reported earnings for the fiscal third quarter of this year, which ended June 30, of $523 million, down from $574 million from this time last year, while revenue was down 14 percent to $3.24 billion.

Adjusted earnings per share were 97 cents, 3 cents below analysts’ average forecast, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Filmed-entertainment revenue fell 29% to $1.01 billion, although this was partially expected as the company’s Paramount studio released fewer films last quarter than in the comparable year-ago period.

Revenue at its Paramount film studio fell 29 percent as three movies released during the quarter - Madagascar 3, The Dictator andTitanic 3D - underperformed compared to the four movies it released last year, which included Kung Fu Panda 2 and Thor.

The company’s decline can be traced back to the struggling children’s network channel Nickelodeon, which began to suffer a sharp drop in viewing figures last year, maybe due to a lack of new programming. Much of Nickelodeon’s programming is now freely available on digital on-demand services like Netflix Inc.

The company has announced a significant amount of new programming in recent months to help win back viewers. On Friday the company announced it had another 14 original projects in the works.

 

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