Viacom Records $18.4 Billion Loss in Q4

Feb 24, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Viacom reported Thursday that it swung to a fourth-quarter loss, as an $18 billion impairment charge related to the revised value of the company’s outdoor and radio businesses outweighed strong gains made at the company’s cable and television operations.

The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $18.4 billion, compared with a year-earlier profit of $385.4 million. Excluding the charge, Viacom said it would have posted a 10 percent increase in profit to $1.3 billion. Revenue for the three-month period rose 6 percent to $6.3 billion.

For the year, a combination of the impairment charge and a $56 million severance charge related to last year’s management shakeup led the company to post a loss of $17.5 billion, compared with a profit of $1.4 billion a year ago. Revenue rose 8 percent to $22.5 billion.

Driving a lot of the revenue growth at the company were the cable and television businesses. For the year, the company’s cable networks, which include MTV, Comedy Central and BET, posted a 17 percent revenue increase to $6.6 billion and a 16 percent rise in operating income to $2.5 billion, largely due to a strong surge in advertising revenue and increases in affiliate-fee revenue.

Meanwhile, the company’s television operation, which includes CBS, UPN and the television-station group, reported a 10 percent increase in 2004 revenue to $8.5 billion and a 25 percent increase in 2004 operating income to $1.2 billion. Driving much of the growth was higher advertising revenue, including a combined $116 million in revenue from CBS’s airing of the Super Bowl last year and from political advertising.