Viacom Earnings, Revenues Beat Expectations

New York City-based Viacom shares were trading lower early Thursday, despite the media conglomerate's having just reported "double-digit earnings growth" in its fiscal fourth quarter 2013 and exceeding most analysts' expectations for the quarter quite handily.

Viacom earned $1.69 in diluted earnings per share from operations during Q4, which appears to exceed the consensus estimate on Wall Street, of $1.44. Revenues for the quarter clearly exceeded expectations, rising 9% to $3.65 billion. Analysts had been expecting only $3.6 billion.

Advertising drove the increase in revenues, with Viacom growing that segment of its business 10% year over year. Revenue from programming -- media networks -- grew only 7% at Viacom.

But for the full year, Viacom's media networks actually grew. Viacom blamed a decline in filmed entertainment revenues at its movies division for the fact that full-year revenues declined 1% from fiscal 2012 levels. Operating income for the year was down 2% from 2012.

Going forward, Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone said Viacom's "world-class brands are perfectly positioned to build on this performance and achieve even greater success." Management did not, however, provide specific guidance on what it expects to earn in 2014, promising only to "deliver significant value directly to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases."


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