ViacomCBS earnings top expectations

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ViacomCBS Inc. topped third-quarter earnings and revenue expectations Friday even as the company continues to face pressure in its advertising and theatrical businesses due to the COVID-19 crisis. The company reported net earnings from continuing operations of $616 million, or 99 cents a share, down from $626 million, or $1.01 a share, a year prior. On an adjusted basis, Viacom posted earnings per share of 91 cents, down from $1.10 a year before but ahead of the 79 cents that analysts surveyed by FactSet had been predicting. Viacom’s revenue for the quarter decreased to $6.2 billion from $6.7 billion, while analysts had been expecting about $6 billion. Viacom disclosed that its affiliate revenue was up 10% from a year prior, while advertising revenue dipped 6% “driven by the adverse effects of COVID-19, including lower demand in the advertising market.” Content licensing revenue fell 33%, “driven by the timing of program availabilities and the adverse impacts of COVID-19,” while theatrical revenue was “immaterial” given closures or capacity reductions at many movie theaters due to the pandemic. Publishing revenue increased 29% as the company cited “strong releases” during the quarter, including Mary Trump’s “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” Shares are off 0.1% in premarket trading Friday. The stock has gained 16% over the past three months as the S&P 500 has risen 4.8%.
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