Viacom shattered analysts' estimates for the quarter. Television advertising sales jumped 10% to $1.3 billion, thanks to higher ratings for the company's flagship networks Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central.
For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Viacom reported net income of $804 million, or $1.68 per share, up from $650 million, or $1.26 per share, in the year-earlier period. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.44 a share.
Revenue jumped 9% to $3.65 billion.
The company's Paramount Pictures was a star, generating 11% higher revenue to $1.2 billion. Adjusted operating income was up 49% to $291 million.
The Los Angeles film studio's theatrical revenue jumped 31% to $171 million for the quarter because of higher home-entertainment sales and the strong box-office performance of "World War Z," which was released in late June.
"World War Z" was Paramount's second-highest earner for the year, reaping more than $200 million in domestic ticket sales. Worldwide, the film has raked in nearly half a billion dollars.
"We feel that we are going to have a very solid year at Paramount," Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman told analysts Thursday during an early-morning conference call.
Dauman also noted that the studio's recent comedy, "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa," was on its way to making $100 million at the box office.
"We are very excited about Paramount's 2014 slate," Dauman said.
The studio's home-entertainment revenue increased 24% to $428 million. However, TV licensing revenue decreased 17% to $383 million.
Once again, Viacom's real strength came from its cable television networks.
Revenue at the TV unit was up 7% to nearly $2.5 billion. Operating income increased 2% to $944 million. The growth was across the board, not just at one individual network.
"The big surprise here was the acceleration of domestic and international network advertising to 10%," Wells Fargo Securities media analyst Marci Ryvicker observed in a Thursday morning report.
Viacom announced this week that it would pay a quarterly cash dividend of 30 cents a share on its Class A and Class B common stock. The company is controlled by billionaire Sumner Redstone.
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