OK, we know Viacom beat expectations, even though its profits fell 34% in the first quarter, but wasn’t Sumner Redstone expecting more from this part of his empire.
When he decided to split the companies a few years back, CBS was supposed to the steady, slow-growth outfit and Viacom’s movie studios and cable channels were supposed to turbo charge Redstone’s bank account through his golden years.
Boss Philippe Dauman, a longtime Redstone storm trooper, is having trouble navigating the choppy waters of the advertising slump and is unable to carve a more profitable revenue stream out of Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon.
No wonder there are rumours floating around Hollywood that former News Corp. number 2, Peter Chernin, is chatting with Sumner about a place in the CBS-Viacom empire. Asked about it yesterday at the Milken Conference, Chernin said there had been “nothing, no conversations” about coming on board,
Some earnings details:
•Viacom’s media networks’ revenue fell 8% to $1.87 billion. Last year, it had a big hit with the Rock Band video game. No such luck this time around.
•Domestic ad sales fell 9% and worldwide ad sales slumped 11%.
•Net profit was $177 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with $270 million during the same quarter in 2008.
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