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IN BRIEF Entertainment

Viacom Posts Record Results for 2nd Quarter

July 26, 2002|Richard Verrier

Bucking the bleak media landscape, Viacom Inc. reported record results for the second quarter, driven by an upswing in advertising revenue at its CBS television network and cable businesses.

Viacom reported earnings of $547 million, or 31 cents per share in the second quarter ended June 30, compared with earnings of $17 million, or 1 cent per share, a year ago. The New York based company reported revenue of $5.85 billion, up from $5.72 billion last year.

The results beat Wall Street's estimate of 29 cents a share, according to analysts polled by Thomson First Call. They reflect Viacom's position as the most stable of the media giants. Its operating results and stock price have outperformed rivals such as Vivendi Universal, Walt Disney Co. and AOL Time Warner Inc. Viacom's class B stock rose 60 cents to close at $35.05 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Viacom credited strong advertising sales at CBS and the company's cable networks. Viacom also cited strong video sales at the company's Blockbuster chain. The Paramount Pictures movie studio, however, dragged down results with lower box-office sales.

Touting the generally upbeat results, Viacom President Mel Karmazin predicted that the company will see at least a 10% boost in its cash flow this year.

Some analysts are skeptical. "I think the company will be stretched to meet the double digit guidance," said Jordan Rohan, a media analyst with Wit SoundView.

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