Viacom posts small profit
July 26, 2001: 10:57 a.m. ET

CBS owner tops expectations on strong rise in 2Q revenue
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Media conglomerate Viacom Inc. reported an unexpected narrow second-quarter profit Thursday, as a top company executive declared the slowdown in advertising that has hurt the media industry over the last year has bottomed out.

The company, whose holdings include the rights to the hit TV show "Survivor" on its CBS network, as well as cable and publishing properties, earned net income of $16.7 million, or 1 cent a diluted share, better than the breakeven result forecast by earnings tracker First Call. A year earlier, the company earned $9 million, or 1 cent a share, excluding a merger-related charge of $505 million, or 42 cents a share, on an after-tax basis.

Revenue grew 18 percent to $5.7 billion from $4.9 billion a year earlier, with both revenue and operating profit gains across its various units.

Viacom (VIA.B: up $3.02 to $49.27, Research, Estimates) President Mel Karmazin told analysts during a conference call that "the advertising market has bottomed. Things are definitely getting better."

The company's stock jumped more than $3 Thursday morning following Karmazin's remarks.

Revenue at its television unit, which includes CBS, UPN and Paramount Television, which produces series for a number of networks, rose 33 percent to $1.6 billion as CBS, led by its Thursday night hits "Survivor" and "CSI", led the May ratings. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization more than doubled to $360.8 million from $164.5 million.

Its Infinity unit, which includes radio stations and outdoor advertising, saw revenue rise 47 percent to $985.4 billion, while its cable networks, including MTV and Nickelodeon, saw revenue rise 10 percent to $1.1 billion.

The company's video unit, which includes the Blockbuster video rental chain, saw revenue edge up 1 percent to $1.2 billion, while publishing, which includes Simon & Schuster, saw revenue up 12 percent to $149 million. graphic


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