Viacom, Inc. (Nasdaq:VIAB), which owns Comedy Central, MTV and movie studio Paramont Pictures, on Friday reported fiscal third-quarter earnings up 24 percent on two blockbuster movies and a ratings improvement at the company's TV networks.
Net income climbed to $647 million, or $1.32 per share, compared with $523 million, or 99 cents per share, in the third fiscal quarter of last year. Adjusted for one-time events, net income rose 24 percent to $635 million, or $1.29 per share, compared with $512 million, or 97 cents per share, in the same period last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected, on average, earnings per share of $1.30.
Total revenue for the three months ended in June rose 14 percent to $3.69 billion, besting the $3.58 billion Wall Street expected.
The company’s networks division, which includes MTV, Comedy Central and BET, saw a 13 percent rise in revenue, while revenue at the Paramount Pictures film branch jumped 15 percent, helped by such releases as “World War Z,” “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Pain and Gain.”
The New York company also said it was doubling its share buyback plan to $20 billion from $10 billion.
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“The company’s investment in fresh programming is starting to pay off,” Michael Corty, an analyst at Morningstar, wrote in a note on Friday. “Still, we think the shares are overvalued, despite currently trading at 13 times our fiscal 2014 earnings per share estimate, the lowest multiple in our cable network coverage universe.”