ViacomCBS Soars on Earnings Beat Despite Ad Revenue Drop

ViacomCBS beats Wall Street's first-quarter earnings expectations.
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ViacomCBS  (VIACA) - Get Report shares were soaring Thursday after the entertainment and media giant beat Wall Street's first-quarter earnings expectations.

Shares of the New York-based company were surging 19.8% to $17.82 in premarket trading.

The release marked the company's second financial report since the recombination of Viacom and CBS in December and its first for a full quarter of the merged company.

ViacomCBS reported earnings of $516 million, or 84 cents a share, down from earnings of $1.96 billion, or $3.20 a share a year ago. Adjusted earnings came to $1.13 a share. Analysts were expecting the company of 95 cents a share.

Revenue totaled $6.67 billion, down 6% from a year ago, and ahead of Wall Street's call for $6.57 billion.

Advertising revenue dropped 19% year over year as the year-ago quarter included the broadcasts of Super Bowl LIII and the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA cancelled its championship basketball tournament this year because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Domestic streaming and digital video revenue, including streaming subscription and digital video advertising revenue, grew to $471 million, up 51% year-over-year.

Film revenue increased 11% due to growth in licensing and home entertainment

The year ago quarter include a $549 million gain on selling CBS Television City, ViacomCBS said.

ViacomCBS said it has access to a committed and undrawn $3.5 billion revolving credit facility and other sources of liquidity to reinforce financial flexibility going forward.

In March, ViacomCBS withdrew its quarterly and full-year guidance due to the uncertainty over the duration of the pandemic. The company also raised $2.5 billion in debt to pay back existing debt.