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Viacom 4Q earnings up 13 pct despite revenue drop

Associated Press Modified: November 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm •  Published: November 15, 2012

"We're investing consistently in content to ensure that those brands remain vibrant, strong and well positioned to attract greater viewership as audiences evolve and measurement improves," he said.

Viacom said ad revenue was showing signs of improvement in the current quarter, though it likely won't be enough to show growth compared with last year.

The Paramount Pictures movie studio division saw revenue fall 39 percent to $1.09 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter because it had no blockbuster release. Its lone release in the quarter, the documentary "Katy Perry: Part of Me," sold $32 million in tickets worldwide. A year ago, it released "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," which has sold $1.1 billion in tickets.

Despite the large revenue drop, operating income for the business grew 5 percent to $195 million.

Viacom said it had eight movies on its release schedule for the holiday quarter, including "Rise of the Guardians," a cartoon produced by DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., and "Flight," a Denzel Washington drama released Nov. 2 in North America. Viacom has been the distributor of DreamWorks Animation movies, though News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox is replacing Viacom next year.

Chief Operating Officer Thomas E. Dooley said that despite the heavy release schedule, Viacom expects the division to lose more in the holiday quarter than the $31 million it lost a year ago, when the company was still benefiting from the "Transformers" release. Dooley said the studio should see "healthy growth and profits" next year as the upcoming theatrical releases appear on home video.

For the full fiscal year, earnings fell 7 percent to $1.98 billion, or $3.69 per share, compared with $2.14 billion, or $3.59 per share, a year ago. Revenue fell 7 percent to $13.9 billion.

Viacom's main stock, Class B, increased $1.24, or 2.6 percent, to close at $49.23 Thursday.