Viacom Posts Fourth-Quarter LossBy Christian
February 15, 2002 - 8:57 PM
Viacom, the company responsible for producing and airing the Star Trek franchise, on Wednesday announced it had lost $42.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2001. A year ago the company still made a profit of $30.4 million.
The loss was mainly the result of the current advertising slump, causing revenues to fall from $6.36 billion last year to $6.04 billion this year. In addition, the company faced extra one-time costs of $53 million after its recent decision to integrate Enterprise network UPN with CBS. Analysts were happy with the results, which were ahead of expectations, and Viacom stock has won more than 2% since the results were announced.
Over the entire year, Viacom posted a net loss of $223.5 million, which is down from the $816.1 million it posted in 2000, when it faced massive one-time charges because of the merger with CBS.
Together with its earnings report, Viacom also made several other company announcements:
- Viacom will be acquiring KCAL-TV in Los Angeles for $650 million. As the company already owns LA's KCBS, this will give the company a so-called duopoly in the market, allowing for major cost savings. KCAL's operations will immediately be combined with those of KCBS, which could save Viacom "tens of millions of dollars" per year. Further details can be found in this Variety article.
- Despite recent rumours of tensions between Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone and president Mel Karmazin, the two company leaders said they had a great working relationship. "Our future is bright because top management - Mel and I - are totally in sync," Redstone told investors (via Variety). "The mood is great here; Mel and I are getting along great."
- Thanks to new shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Enterprise, UPN had its most successful fourth quarter-performance ever. The network posted 18% viewership increases in the important Adults 18-34 and Adults 18-49 demographics, and attracted an average of 4.6 million viewers, a fourth-quarter record. With the exception of Thursdays, when UPN airs WWF Smackdown!, the network's ratings increased on every night of the week.
- And in other news, MediaWeek reported that UPN was the network airing the most commercials per hour of network television, with a total of 10.08 minutes in ad time per hour.
Viacom's full earnings announcement can be found in this PR Newswire press release.