Amid a multitude of layoffs and structural changes, Viacom‘s media nets segment reported Thurs a 7% increase in Y-over-Y ’06 rev to $7.24bln, led by an 11% jump in affil rev to $2bln. Not too shabby, but "a great deal of our [4Q rev] growth was due to… acquisitions," CFO Thomas Dooley said during an earnings call, and "domestic ad revenues (+4%) came in lower than we expected, primarily because of ratings shortfall at Nick at Nite and TVLand and, to a lesser extent, at MTV." Pres/CEO Philippe Dauman confirmed speculation of troubled waters across the nets. "Without question, we are passing through a period of substantial transformation," he said. "That is precisely why we are putting an intensified focus on execution in all areas." Restructuring will cost $70mln this year, Dooley said, of which $50mln will be charged against Q1 results. But there is some sweet music, as strengthening 1Q domestic ad sales growth and continued success in the digital space—Viacom expects to deliver $500mln in digital rev by year’s end—are providing optimism. As MTVN‘s 4Q digital ad rev rose nearly 60% and the number of digital advertisers grew 60% in the Q,‘s unique visitors in Jan surged 55% Y-over-Y, and was up a whopping 90%, said Dauman. Still, Merrill Lynch maintained its ‘neutral’ rating on Viacom shares, citing "the potential for further negative announcements" in the near term.

The Daily


Trian Buys Comcast Shares

Hedge fund Trian Fund Management has taken an $870mln stake in Comcast . Trian has now accumulated approximately 20mln shares in the MVPD, according to a WSJ report. “We have recently begun what we believe

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