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Viacom Profit Increases 44%, Led by Cable Revenue Rise

April 28, 1999|From Bloomberg News

NEW YORK — Viacom Inc., the world's No. 4 media company, said its first-quarter profit from operations increased 44%, led by ad revenue at its cable TV networks, including MTV and Nickelodeon.

Profit at New York-based Viacom rose to $68.4 million, or 8 cents a share, from $47.6 million, or 5 cents, for the same period a year earlier. Analysts had expected per-share earnings of 5 cents, according to earnings tracker First Call Corp.'s average of analysts it polled.

Revenue rose 9.9%, to $2.95 billion from $2.69 billion, as higher viewer ratings for cable channels MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon spurred a 28% gain in ad revenue. The advertising gain and increased revenue at Viacom's Blockbuster video-rental chain, which Viacom plans to take public, have boosted the stock about 70% in the last 12 months.

Viacom Class B shares fell 56 cents to close at $46.25 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Viacom will soon announce "interesting developments that will enhance and add great value to our online strategy," Chairman Sumner Redstone told analysts and the media. Redstone declined to elaborate, but he reiterated that Viacom will consider a public stock sale of its Internet business at "the appropriate time."

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