Viacom (VIAB) posted stronger-than-expected second quarter earnings Friday, but missed revenue forecasts as ad sales for the Comedy Central and MTV owner eased from last year's pace.
Viacom said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in March, the company's fiscal second quarter, came in at 95 cents per share, up 3 cents from the same period last year but firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of 81 cents per share. Group revenues slipped 6% to $2.958 billion, however, and missed analysts' estimates of $3.06 billion. Ad sales fell 7% to $1.033 billion, the company said, lead by a 19% slump internationally, while affiliate revenues fell 6% to $1.139 billion.
"This quarter we executed strongly on our strategic priorities and made significant progress in advancing our evolution, said CEO Bob Bakish. "We grew viewership share at our flagship networks, accelerated our Advanced Marketing Solutions and continued our momentum at Paramount Pictures."
"We also achieved important milestones in expanding our distribution across traditional, digital and mobile platforms, while dramatically improving our audience reach through the integration of Pluto TV," he added. "As the media landscape continues to segment across price points, we're confident in our strategy, strong results and the opportunities ahead as we continue to position Viacom for the future."
Viacom shares were marked 0.21% lower at the start of trading Friday to change hands at $28.37 each.
Last month, Viacom and T-Mobile US (TMUS) said Wednesday that the pair had reached a "major" content agreement that would see channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central to be carried on mobile phones on the country's third largest wireless network.
Viacom and T-Mobile said the deal will given both live linear feeds, as well as a broad range of on-demand content, to the carrier's 80 million customers. The tie-up comes as content providers and tech companies are rushing to offer bespoke platforms as they attempt to win market share from early movers such as Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX) . Apple Inc. (AAPL) unveiled its own streaming service last week, while Walt Disney Co. (DIS) will show its service to investors on April 11.
"Viacom represents the best of the best, most-popular brands on cable, so they are an amazing partner for us!" said T-Mobile CEO John Legere. "TV programming has never been better, but consumers are fed up with rising costs, hidden fees, lousy customer service, non-stop BS.
"Macgyvering together a bunch of subscriptions, apps and dongles isn't much better. That's why T-Mobile is on a mission to give consumers a better way to watch what they want, when they want."