Viacom sees profits jump after US tax cut | Major Businesses | Business
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Content giant Viacom has seen profit in its first fiscal quarter soar despite revenue declines at both its film and TV divisions, thanks to the recent US federal tax cut.

floribama 9 febViacom reported earnings from continuing operations of $535 million, or $1.33 a share, compared with $396 million, or $1 a share, one year earlier.

Revenue at the studio, home of MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and others, fell 7.6% to $3.07 billion, compared with $3.32 billion in the year-earlier period, mostly thanks to declining carriage fees from pay-TV providers.

Management sounded a bullish tone, however, touting ratings gains. The premiere of Floribama Shore, for instance, was MTV’s most watched show in three years.

"In the quarter, Viacom aggressively drove progress on our strategic plan, delivering improvements in our business and positioning the company for the future,” said Bob Bakish, president and CEO. “Viacom's most watched portfolio of domestic cable brands grew viewership share in the quarter, led by our powerful flagship networks, which now includes Paramount Network - the biggest and most ambitious network rebrand in our history. Internationally, we continue to deliver double-digit top-line and bottom-line media networks gains while launching innovative new partnerships in growth territories around the world.

He also talked up the digital strategy: "Viacom has also made considerable progress in its push to accelerate consumption and monetization on next-generation platforms, achieving substantial growth in worldwide digital advertising revenues, expanding distribution on fast-growing virtual MVPD and mobile services, and ramping up resources and talent at Viacom Digital Studios,” he said. “Additionally, since the end of the quarter, we continued to expand our digital capabilities with the acquisition of influence marketer WHOSAY and the world's premier online video event, VidCon.”

He added that Viacom is on track to achieve $100 million in new cost savings in the current fiscal year, and ‘hundreds of millions more’ in 2019. Before that though it may well be the case that Viacom’s corporate structure has changed radically, after the announcement on 4 February that its board of directors has established a special committee of independent executives to evaluate a potential merger with CBS.