So much for the hope that advertising weakness will be contained to local markets. Viacom has come out with a warning for the current quarter, calling for EPS of $.53-$.55, compared to estimates of $.60. For the full year, it expects growth to come in in the “mid-single to low double digits”. In the mid-day announcement, the company says worldwide ad revenue will come in down 2 per cent, though international will still be up by 8 per cent.
And the key quote from CEO Philippe Dauman:
“Given the rapid softening of the economy and the uncertainty this creates in forecasting advertising growth, we are taking the prudent step of moderating our near-term targets. At the same time, we are moving quickly to adapt to the changing environment and will take appropriate steps to secure new efficiencies that will enhance our long-term earnings growth prospects.
“Viacom is fundamentally strong with powerful brands and leadership positions in attractive and growing media segments around the world. We have a strong balance sheet and we continue to generate significant cash flow, which are important attributes in this time of economic uncertainty.”