Viacom Posts Strong Second Quarter 2018 Earnings, Revitalization Accelerates

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Viacom posted strong second quarter 2018 earnings this morning, outperforming projections with significant gains in both adjusted operating income and adjusted earnings per share as the company accelerates its pivot from stabilization and revitalization to growth.

Double-digit gains across all international Media Networks revenue streams, Paramount Pictures’ return to profitability, ratings increases at key flagship networks, significant benefits from cost savings, further diversification into live events and other adjacent businesses, and an increased focus on next-generation platforms and solutions all set Viacom on a trajectory toward a full fiscal year of growth.

“Viacom continued to accelerate progress against its strategic priorities, delivering improvements across key metrics in the quarter,” said Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish. “Our flagship brands increased audience share among important demos for the fourth consecutive quarter, and we saw sequential improvements in domestic advertising and affiliate revenue performance. Internationally, Viacom continued its winning streak, achieving double-digit revenue and profit gains in the quarter while expanding its global footprint through new channel launches and innovative mobile distribution deals across Europe and Asia. Our cost transformation initiatives are well under way; we anticipate more than $100 million in cost savings in fiscal 2018, and now expect over $300 million in run-rate savings in fiscal 2019 and beyond.

“At Paramount Pictures, turnaround efforts have firmly taken hold as the studio improved margins and returned to profitability. This month’s outstanding box-office performance of A Quiet Place, the first film produced and released under the new team at Paramount, is a clear sign of our progress.

“Viacom also took strides to advance its participation into next generation platforms and solutions. We continued to benefit from growth in the vMVPD space, delivered revenue gains in Advanced Marketing Solutions, and significantly increased original content production through Viacom Digital Studios to drive off-linear consumption. Additionally, we continue to diversify into adjacent businesses by building on our live events strategy with upcoming tentpoles including Comedy Central’s Clusterfest, the BET Experience, Nickelodeon’s U.S. debut of SlimeFest and our first-ever VidCon.”

Viacom’s core business continues to strengthen

Improved performance throughout Viacom’s core business – domestic and international Media Networks and Paramount Pictures – allowed the company to meet or beat guidance on key metrics year-over-year for the quarter, producing five percent adjusted operating income growth and a 16 percent jump in adjusted earnings per share.

Domestically, both advertising and affiliate revenues increased. Viacom’s flagship brands (NickelodeonNick Jr.MTVBETComedy CentralParamount Network), grew audience share year-over-year for the fourth consecutive quarter, while the company continued to hold the top share of basic cable viewing in key demos, including adults 18-34, African-Americans, and kids 2-11. BET grew year-over-year ratings and share by double digits for the third consecutive quarter, while VH1, CMT and TV Land notched year-over-year growth in audience share and ratings. MTV’s programming resurgence continued, with a third straight quarter of year-over-year primetime ratings growth led by Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, which, with 10 million viewers on its opening weekend, was the biggest unscripted cable premiere since 2012.

Viacom International Media Networks is on pace for another record year after posting double-digit increases in profitability, as well as across all revenue streams.

Paramount Pictures returns to profitability

After notching a $75 million year-over-year improvement in adjusted operating income under its new management team, Paramount Pictures raised the curtain on the third quarter with the release of smash hit A Quiet Place. The film rode overwhelmingly positive critical response and deft marketing to the studio’s best opening since 2016 and the second biggest domestic opening so far this year, earning more than $200 million in its first three weeks alone on just a $20 million production budget. Additionally, the studio’s Paramount Television production business anticipates $400 million in revenues this year. Behind these and other catalysts, Paramount expects meaningful improvement to its full-year adjusted operating income for the full fiscal 2018.

Viacom is aggressively increasing its digital output on next-generation platforms

Anchored by 850 million social media followers, the newly formed Viacom Digital Studios is poised to create more than 600 hours of short-form original content this year. This quarter alone, social video views shot up 70 percent (to 4.3 billion), and domestic minutes viewed increased by 78 percent (to 4.7 billion minutes) year-over-year.

The addition of Nickelodeon’s Noggin app to Amazon and a renewed agreement that adds more Viacom content to Snap’s programming slate, in addition to recent and forthcoming mobile deals, will continue to expand the reach of Viacom’s increasing volume of on-the-go-content.

Growing ad revenue through Advanced Marketing Solutions

Viacom today detailed how its Advanced Marketing Solutions (AMS) portfolio would provide even greater opportunity to take advantage of new advertising platforms. The company also broke AMS – which increased its revenue 29 percent in the quarter – into two basic categories:

  1. Advanced addressable video inventory contains advertising units that Viacom can target to consumers, either through its brands’ apps, or by using set-top-box data from its advanced advertising partners, including Comcast, Charter and Altice USA.
  2. Brand solutions is a bundle of consulting, creative services and associated activations that includes social campaigns led by influence marketers WHOSAY, creative integrations with in-house integrated marketing and creative solutions team Viacom Velocity, and experiences at retail stores or Viacom’s growing portfolio of live events.

Viacom live events and consumer products lines continue to grow

Viacom continues to reinforce its brands and drive revenue through live events, recreation, consumer products and other business lines. This quarter marked a nearly 100 percent increase in live-event attendance over 2017, and there are plenty more events in the pipeline, including Comedy Central’s Clusterfest, the BET Experience, Nickelodeon SlimeFest, and the first VidCon since the online video conference joined Viacom – all of which should serve to double live-event and recreation revenue this year.

Viacom’s future looks strong

“Looking forward, we see continued momentum as we pivot from stabilization and revitalization of our business to a new phase of growth,” Bakish said.

To see what Viacom will debut in the months ahead, scroll through the timeline below, or click here to view the full-screen version.

Modern Dads, Social Media, Movie Choices & Curators of Cool: Viacom Global Insights Digest, May 2017

by Christian Kurz, Global Consumer Insights, Viacom

Welcome to the May issue of the Viacom Global Insights Digest, bringing you Viacom’s latest consumer insights from around the world.

This month, we look at modern dads, social media usage, how other people influence our movie choices, and how youth find what’s cool in a cluttered online landscape.

As always, the English version of our blog is home to these stories and many more. All stories are available in Spanish (LatAm) and Portuguese (Brazilian).

Read More

Four Things You Need to Know About the New RateMyProfessors App

RateMyProfessors, the number one destination for professor ratings, has launched a new app just in time for class. Users can access more than 17 million student comments, and a range of exciting new features, including:

1. A new compare tool that offers side-by-side analysis of multiple professors’ ratings, difficulty level, and classroom style:

Viacom’s Pete Chelala Discusses Future of Mobile at IAB Ad Lab

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

Last week, the Ad Lab at IAB held a town hall on the future of apps with a group of media and technology leaders, including Viacom’s own Pete Chelala, VP of Mobile Advertising & Products.

“Our job is to put the content that [our viewers] love on the screens they can’t live without,” Chelala said.

Check out the video above for some of his thoughts on generational differences in app preferences (i.e. the “now” mentality of the Millennials); app discovery; and how you have to always be a student to stay current in the mobile world.

Shannon Connolly Talks MTV Artists App on Bloomberg TV

by Chanel Cathey, Viacom

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Viacom Music Group Senior Vice President of Music Strategy Shannon Connolly appeared on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers” last week to introduce the MTV Artists app and to discuss the network’s focus on mobile strategy. The new MTV Artists iPhone app connects fans and artists, and its effortless, simple usability sets it apart from other music-oriented mobile apps, according to Connolly. With music moving to new platforms, this app was designed to serve the music fan in three key ways: Read More

STUDY: Nickelodeon’s ‘Will They Or Won’t They?’

by Katie Bessiere, Research, Nickelodeon

With the influx of gaming apps available for free and paid download, Nickelodeon sought to better understand the decision-making process when it comes to buying games or making in-game purchases on an Apple iDevice. In “Will They Or Won’t They?,” Nickelodeon gave kids 3-17 and young adults 18-22 $20 to spend on gaming apps and then conducted in-depth interviews about their purchasing decisions. The findings reveal variations in motivation between age groups, as well as challenges associated with today’s paid apps and in-app purchase offerings. Read More

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’: Touring the App

by Ashley Bodul, Paramount Pictures

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Star Trek fans who downloaded Paramount Pictures’ new Star Trek app were treated to a couple of surprises during the Super Bowl: advance screenings of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness in IMAX theaters on May 15 – two days prior to the film’s official release – as well as an exclusive look at the film’s extended television spot. For new users, there are more rewards to earn, and more exclusive content to gain access to. See above for a visual tour of the app. Read More

hAPPy Ending

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

A nice bit of breaking news today…Viacom and Time Warner Cable have agreed to resolve their pending disputes. And that’s very good news for consumers.

Time Warner Cable subscribers will be able to enjoy Viacom programming – from MTV’s Jersey Shore to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and more – through TWC TVTM, Time Warner Cable’s in-home streaming app for tablet devices.   In addition, Time Warner Cable subscribers will get even more on-air channels from Viacom, including MTV Hits, MTV Jams and Centric, and subscribers in many major markets such as New York City will gain access to TV Land HD and MTV2 HD, as well.

Here’s the joint statement:

Viacom and Time Warner Cable have agreed to resolve their pending litigations.  All of Viacom’s programming will now be available to Time Warner Cable subscribers for in-home viewing via internet protocol-enabled devices such as iPads and Time Warner Cable will continue to carry Viacom’s Country Music Television (CMT) programming.  In reaching the settlement agreement, Time Warner Cable and Viacom were also able to resolve other unrelated business matters to their mutual satisfaction.  Neither side is conceding its original legal position or will have further comment. 

Viacom programming will be rolled out on TWC TVTM over the next several weeks.