Viacom Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Viacom Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript
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Viacom (VIA.B)

Q1 2010 Earnings Call

April 29, 2010 8:30 am ET

Executives

Thomas Dooley - Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, Senior Executive Vice President and Director

Philippe Dauman - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Sumner Redstone - Founder and Executive Chairman

James Bombassei - Senior Vice President of Investor Relations

Analysts

Douglas Mitchelson - Deutsche Bank AG

Alan Gould - Soleil Securities Group, Inc.

Imran Khan - JP Morgan Chase & Co

Jason Bazinet - Citigroup Inc

Anthony DiClemente - Barclays Capital

Jeffrey Logsdon - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

David Miller - Caris & Company

Spencer Wang - Crédit Suisse First Boston, Inc.

Jason Helfstein - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.

David Bank - RBC Capital Markets Corporation

Presentation

Operator

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Good day, everyone, and welcome to the Viacom earnings release teleconference for the quarter ended March 31, 2010. [Operator Instructions] At this time, I would like to turn the call over to the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations, Mr. Jim Bombassei. Please go ahead, sir.

James Bombassei

Good morning, everyone, and thank you for taking the time to join us for our earnings call for the quarter ended March 31. Joining me on today's discussion are Sumner Redstone, our Chairman; Philippe Dauman, our President and CEO; Tom Dooley, our Chief Administrative Officer and CFO; and Jimmy Barge, our Controller and Head of Tax and Treasury.

Please note that in addition to our press release, we have slides and trending schedules containing supplemental information available on our Web site. Let me refer you to Page #2 in the Web presentation and I remind you that certain statements made on this call are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties are discussed in more detail in our filings with the SEC. Reconciliations for non-GAAP financial information discussed on this call can be found in our earnings release or on our Web site.

And now, I'll turn the call over to Sumner.

Sumner Redstone

Thank you, Jim, and good morning, everyone. As you can well imagine, I am more than happy to be here today as we share the outstanding results Viacom delivered in the first quarter of 2010. Now just one year ago, we found ourselves operating in a very different, in a very difficult environment. There was, unfortunately, not a great deal of good news to be found, and even I had to reach into my reserve storage of optimism to find the few bright spots on the horizon. But even amid the doom and gloom, I had a fundamental faith in the resilience of our assets [ph] and the resourcefulness of our management team. I have always taken a long-term perspective, one that reflects the experience acquired over many years in this business and more than a few economic cycles. I knew that Viacom would not simply survive the challenges of this recession but that it would emerge stronger than ever. Without question, it has.

Now what separates Viacom from many in the entertainment industry is that our business is built on strong and growing brands. We have always understood that content is king and thus, we continue to nurture the value of our brands and to invest in the content engine that will drive our business for many, many years to come and ultimately deliver really great value for all of our shareholders.

Now already, we are seeing growing enthusiasm among our marketing and distribution partners [ph] who look to us to help them connect with consumers. New technologies offer many more ways, more ways than ever to share our branded content. And I can assure you, we will engage our audiences on every screen, on every device and in every place on this planet.

Today, our strong bottom line results reflect a clear focused strategy, unmatched creative ingenuity, expert operational guidance and an always-disciplined financial approach, and you can count on Philippe and his very capable team to continue to expand on this success and to capitalize on the many new opportunities that surely lie ahead for Viacom.

And now, I will turn this call over to Viacom's President and CEO, my forever friend, Philippe Dauman.

Philippe Dauman

Thank you very much, Sumner, and good morning, everyone. I'm pleased you could join us today. We have had a solid start to the year and our momentum is continuing to build. All of the actions we took over the past 18 months to strengthen our business are truly paying off today. With a much stronger financial position, a streamlined organizational structure and a continuing commitment to invest in content, we are poised to take advantage of new opportunities that are beginning to emerge.

The economic environment is growing stronger each day, and absent any major disruption, that progress should continue at a steady pace. As we prepare for the advertising upfront season, the overall mood of our clients is increasingly optimistic and marketing budgets are beginning to loosen up. We spent much of the past year refining our programming of several core cable networks, and while there is still much to do, I am very pleased with the progress. And we have a very strong film studio in Paramount. Structurally and creatively, it is firing on all cylinders and it now has a rich pipeline of material that will entertain moviegoers for many years to come.

This morning, I will briefly review our financial results as well as the highlights of our operational performance in our Media Networks and Filmed Entertainment segments. Given that our investment in programming continues to be a key strategic priority, I will spend some time reviewing what's coming up. Tom will provide additional detail on our results and then we'll be happy to take your questions.

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