(Adds executive comment, bylines)
By Jennifer Saba and Soham Chatterjee
Aug 6 Viacom Inc, the owner of cable
networks MTV and Comedy Central and movie studio Paramount
Pictures, on Wednesday posted lower-than-expected second-quarter
revenue as it released fewer movies.
The release in late June of the latest "Transformers" movie,
which has since reached blockbuster status, came too late in the
quarter to save Viacom's filmed entertainment unit from a
decline in revenue; the unit's revenue fell 26 percent.
The 7 percent fall in quarterly total revenue, to $3.4
billion, also reflected continuing weakness in domestic
advertising revenue at Viacom's cable networks.
Philippe Dauman, chief executive of Viacom, said on a call
with analysts that certain automotive and consumer good makers
pulled back on their ad spend during the upfronts - the annual
spring event hosted by media companies to court Madison Avenue
to make advance commitments for most of their television ad
Domestic advertising revenue at Viacom's cable networks rose
1 percent, below many analysts' forecasts.
"We do believe that some of the dollars that were withheld
in the general upfront market will be coming back," Dauman said.
On Wednesday, Time Warner said that advertising revenue at
Turner, its cable network division, was up 1 percent.
The lackluster ad results at both media conglomerates could
point to a broader downward trend as consumers shift the way
they watch TV and advertisers put more dollars toward digital
Shares of Viacom were down 1 percent at $80.90 in afternoon
trade on Wednesday.
Filmed entertainment revenue was hurt by a 43 percent fall
in theatrical revenue due to the number and timing of movie
releases, Viacom said.
This week, "Transformers: Age of Extinction" became the
first movie released this year to earn more than $1 billion in
global box office returns, according to Paramount Pictures.
Viacom said operating profit at its cable networks business
fell 3 percent as it earned less from certain distribution deals
and spent more on programming.
Net income from continuing operations attributable to Viacom
fell to $611 million, or $1.40 per share, from $647 million, or
$1.32 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned $1.42 per share.
Analysts on average expected an adjusted profit of $1.43 per
share on revenue of $3.66 billion, according to Thomson Reuters
(Reporting by Soham Chatterjee in Bangalore; Editing by Simon
Jennings and Leslie Adler)