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UPDATE: Viacom Says Nielsen Snafu Led To Decline In Nickelodeon Toy Ads; Forecasts Strong 2012 Despite Economic “Headwinds”

UPDATE, 8:50 AM: Listen up Occupy Wall Streeters: Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told analysts that the company is doing better than ever financially – yet is still cutting jobs. It reported a $130M restructuring charge in the fiscal 4Q — $77M coming from the Media Networks and $53M from Filmed Entertainment. That will mostly go toward severance payments over the next year. Viacom expects to benefit from $140M in annual savings, improving profit margins even if the economy weakens, COO Tom Dooley says. Company SEC filings indicate that the Viacom cut 320 positions over the last year, ending with 10,580 full and part time employees in September. Most of the cuts took place overseas. Dauman says that in late October the company announced that it will hire 100 people for accounting, finance and corporate support at cable channel CMT’s headquarters in Tennessee, which means Viacom is “able to bring jobs onshore.”

Dauman cited two problems that worry some investors: He cited economic “headwinds” hurting ad sales — although he quickly added that Viacom can make up for any problems with additional revenues from rising fees that cable and satellite companies pay. Also, he said that Nickelodeon lost ad sales, especially from toy companies, beginning in September when Nielsen ‘inexplicably” reported unusually weak ratings. Although Dauman offered few details, Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne says he believes live-only ratings in Nick’s key demos fell 9% in September and 15% in … Read More »

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Report Says CBS, Viacom Are Capital Kings

As earnings begin to trickle in, it’s looking like the advertising rebound of 2010 will have a significant impact on quarterly reports. That ad renaissance also helped media and entertainment conglomerates see a large return on capital investment, and in a report by trend analysis firm Needham Insights, analyst Laura Martin says that CBS and Viacom will have the highest return on capital among the major media companies in 2011. The report indicates that major media companies have seen cash growth between 24% and 94% over the past year, while earnings also rose healthily, between 11% and 41%. So companies like CBS and Viacom – which rely heavily on advertising – were on the high end.

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Mixed Results For Viacom’s 3rd Quarter

By | Thursday November 11, 2010 @ 6:59am PST

A revived ad market boosted the media networks division, but the movie unit faltered. The result was a 3rd quarter net revenue of $3.33 billion, a 5% increase compared to $3.17 billion same quarter last year and in line with Wall Street expectations. But profit-wise, Viacom’s net income fell to $189 million from $463 million same quarter last year due to several one-time charges and dropping profits at the Harmonix gaming unit, which the company announced it will be selling. Harmonix is responsible for the Rock Band video game series. MTV Networks bought Harmonix in 2006 for $175 million. Of the film division, Philippe Dauman decided to focus on the future, saying, “Our motion picture business continues on its trajectory of controlling overhead expenses as it pursues a film strategy focused on franchises and brands. The studio is off to a great start in fiscal 2011 with the box office success of Jackass 3D and Paranormal Activity 2.” And Sumner Redstone said, “We continue to benefit from the improving economy and look forward to even brighter days ahead.”

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