UPDATE 2-Viacom expects pick up in advertiser demand

Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:17am EST

By Jennifer Saba and Sruthi Ramakrishnan
    Jan 30 (Reuters) - Viacom Inc said on Thursday it
expects advertising revenue from its cable networks like MTV,
Comedy Central and Nickelodeon to improve this quarter, sending
shares up 2.4 percent.
    The media company, which also owns movie studio Paramount
Pictures, said higher ratings for its television shows are also
helping coax money from advertisers.
    Viacom is the first of the big media conglomerates to shed
light on the U.S. advertising environment this year.
    "It is positive news and that is why the stock is up," said
Evercore analyst Alan Gould about the advertising forecast.
    Earlier Thursday, Viacom reported domestic advertising
revenue rose only 3 percent for the quarter ending December 31.
While pullback was expected, investors were encouraged that
demand for commercials is returning.
    Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman blamed the November
budget crisis in Washington that spooked advertisers.
    "That created a lot of uncertainty in the business
community," Dauman said on an analyst call. "That dissipated
once the deal occurred."
    Advertiser demand is "back to normal" he added and Viacom
expects domestic ad revenue to improve this quarter.
    The company reported a 4 percent drop in total revenue for
the quarter ending December to $3.2 billion, roughly in line
with analysts estimates of $3.30 billion, according to Thomson
Reuters I/B/E/S.
    The drop off resulted from fewer movie releases from its
studio Paramount Pictures, which reported a 30 percent decline
in filmed entertainment revenue to $681 million.  
    Net income from continuing operations rose to $547 million,
or $1.20 per share, from $473 million, or 93 cents per share, a
year earlier. 
    Excluding items, the company earned $1.20 per share from
continuing operations, above analysts' estimate of $1.16,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
    Viacom is controlled by media mogul Sumner Redstone, who
serves as chairman of the company and its sister CBS Corp
.
    Shares of Viacom rose $2.60 to $83.50 in early trade on
Thursday.
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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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