In Depth

Viacom's Dauman Optimistic About Advertising

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman says he is seeing optimistic signs about the ad environment.

Viacom on Thursday reported a 34% decline in earnings in part because of a 9% drop in advertising revenues at its domestic cable networks including MTV. But on a conference call with analysts Thursday, Mr. Dauman said he sees the environment “stabilizing.”

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He said he’s encouraged by development over the last several weeks.

“We’re seeing good stable pricing in the market. It’s been a question of the volume, which had been soft, but it’s starting to come back in,” he said. “We are seeing more robustness as we head into the upfront season."

One company in the troubled domestic auto category has come into the ad market in a strong way, he added.

Mr. Dauman said the kids upfront, in which Viacom’s Nickelodeon is a big player, has started, with some advertisers making strong commitments.

“We’ve seen advertisers increase the spending in several important categories,” he said.

In the grown-up upfront market, “Entertainment is really just starting to get under way, so there’s not too much visibility,” he said.