Viacom Inc. (VIAB) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Friday and said it expects revenues at its Paramount Television revenues to grow by more than 50% next year following the success of its its Mission Impossible franchise for its studio division.
Viacom said net earnings for the three months ending in September, its fiscal fourth quarter, came in at 98 cents a share, topping the Street consensus of 95 cents but down 41% from the same period last year. Group sales, Viacom said, rose 5% to $3.485 billion, again topping analysts' forecasts. Paramount's Mission Impossible - Fallout, and A Quiet Place helped revenues at the studio rise 25% to $984 million, Viacom said, while Paramount Television revenues jumped 127% to $400 million for the whole of the fiscal year.
"Our strong performance in the fourth quarter capped off a pivotal year for Viacom. We successfully turned around our core business, with dramatic improvements across our networks, at Paramount and in distribution," said CEO Bob Bakish. "We also took important steps to evolve Viacom for the future - investing in our portfolio of advanced marketing solutions, digital and experiential offerings and global studio production business."
"As we head into 2019, we are excited about the company's evolution and expect to return to topline growth," he added.
Viacom shares were marked 0.52% higher in pre-market trading Friday, indicating an opening bell price of $32.00 each, a move that would extend its year-to-date gain to around 3% and value the New York, NY.-based media group at around $12.7 billion.
Viacom said Mission: Impossible - Fallout, staring Tom Cruise, was the top grossing movie in global box offices over its fourth quarter, and the most successful film of the franchise, earning nearly $800 million. Paramount's Book Club comedy, produced for only $10 million, had earned $75 million by the end of September.