Viacom Posts Record Profits During First Quarter 2004

By Michelle
April 23, 2004 - 7:53 PM

Viacom Inc. - the parent company of Paramount Pictures, CBS and UPN, numerous cable and radio stations, Blockbuster Video, Simon and Schuster and other subsidiary companies - reported record profits during the first fiscal quarter of 2004.

PR Newswire reported Viacom's statement that, with advertising revenues up 21 percent to $3.2 billion dollars, the company increased to a record $6.8 billion from $6.1 billion for the same quarter last year.

"CBS and UPN Networks combined delivered 26% higher advertising revenues principally driven by the telecast of Super Bowl XXXVIII, the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship and the strength of CBS primetime," stated the company press release.

Viacom also cited syndication revenues that benefited from the renewal of an international licensing agreement for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.

Analysts at Reuters (via Yahoo! News) predicted that Viacom's shares would rise, propelled by the prospects for election-year and summer Olympics advertising.

Blockbuster's revenues had dropped, Reuters said, but since the parent corporation plans to give up its majority stake in the video rental chain, its outlook does not appear to be lowering enthusiasm for Viacom's stock.

Forbes was more cautious in its outlook, stating, "Viacom's stellar performance in the first quarter failed to significantly boost its shares as concerns mounted that the same pace of growth is unsustainable for the rest of the year."

Still, added Forbes, "On the back of its hit show CSI: Miami and a new spin-off based in New York, Viacom expects to steal more business away from broadcast peers, as the industry heads into a frenzied ad selling period in May."

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sumner Redstone said that the first quarter results "put the Company on a fast track for another record year in 2004."

The original Viacom press release is at PR Newswire. Abbreviated entertainment-focused coverage may be found at The Hollywood Reporter.

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