lowered its full-year guidance Wednesday, saying that while the economic recovery has resulted in solid national advertising sales growth, the pace of improvement in local ad markets going into the fourth quarter isn't as strong as had been expected.
The media giant didn't offer specific numbers, but said it now expects mid- to high-single digit growth in revenue and operating income for the full year, compared with its earlier projection of high single-digit growth for revenue and double-digit growth for operating income.
In addition, Viacom is now predicting low- to mid-teen growth in earnings this year, down from its prior guidance of mid-teen growth.
Viacom "continues to expect a record year" for revenue, operating income and earnings in 2003, as well as strong growth for 2004.
The company said it is "extremely well-positioned to reap the benefits of an expected improvement in local advertising markets in 2004," driven by an improving economy, political advertising and the Super Bowl on its CBS television network.
Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expect Viacom to earn $1.44 a share on revenue of $26.5 billion in 2003. The company had a profit of $1.24 and revenue of $24.6 billion last year.
Shares of Viacom were down $1.02, or 2.5%, to $39.25 in Instinet premarket trading.