Media Companies Issue Mixed Earnings Reports
Media companies were issuing a flood of second-quarter earnings reports, most of them displaying very mixed results. Viacom, for example, reported an upswing at its cable-TV networks, particularly at Nickelodeon, which has seen its ratings and sales tumble over the past year. Earnings also improved for its MTV networks, Comedy Central and BET. But Viacom's Paramount movie studio reported a 43-percent decline in operating income due to fewer theatrical and home-video releases. Viacom reported earnings of $478 million on revenue of $3.14 billion for the quarter. That's down from $585 million/$3.18 billion from the year-ago quarter. Meanwhile CBS, which like Viacom is part of Sumner Redstone's National Amusements conglomerate, posted $4.04 billion in revenue, beating analysts' expectations. Earnings came to $443 million, up from $363 million in the previous year. In a conference call with analysts and reporters, CBS chief Les Moonves called it The most successful quarter in our company's history. He acknowledged that a significant part of the quarterly upsurge was due to its coverage of the Super Bowl and he Grammys. Comcast reported a 17-percent rise in profits for the quarter -- with virtually all of it coming from its cable-TV operations, which offset a 2.4-percent drop in revenue from its NBCUniversal unit. The company posted first-quarter profit of $1.4 billion, up from $1.22 billion a year ago. Total revenue rose to $15.31 billion. Time Warner profits also rose 22 percent from the year-ago quarter to $720 million on revenue of $6.94 billion, down from $5.98 billion a year ago. As with Viacom, Time Warner said that it had a disappointing quarter with its Warner Bros. movies, but that its cable networks were showing steady improvements.