The numbers look good at Viacom
Reality isn't that kind, though. The growth wasn't exactly organic. The acquisition of DreamWorks doubled revenue at Viacom's filmed entertainment business to $1.6 billion. Without that spurt, its flagship media networks division shot up just 4% higher during the period.
It's also important to put the prior year's quarter into perspective. A media conglomerate like Viacom is always in a state of flux, and in the fourth quarter of 2005 it was slapped with income tax liabilities that sucked out 67% of the juice from the operating profit from continuing operations (which makes this year's quarter look better by comparison).
It was still a good quarter. It just wasn't the great quarter it appears to be at first glance.
Viacom is trying to morph itself into a growth stock after shedding its CBS
Viacom's cold hasn't been contagious. Industry rivals like Disney
Viacom has responded to the stagnancy. CEO Tom Freston was let go back in September. A corporate shakeup was announced at Viacom's MTV last month. The new chieftain is especially motivated to make Viacom work. His compensation package is light on cash, but heavy on equity. Naturally, CEO Philippe Dauman isn't the only one waiting for the stock to start climbing again. Investors are notably antsy. They have put up with chunky severance packages, international restructuring charges, and a digital strategy that has gone for bunt singles instead of the long ball in the near term.
Let's hope that a good quarter is the catalyst to a great year in 2007. The rest of the industry isn't just going to stand there and wait for Viacom to catch up. It has to start running on its own now.
Want to turn the channel to see what else is on?.
- Viacom Is on the Move: The dismissal of Freston.
- Fool on the Street: Viacom Plants the Flag: Required reading, as it outlines Dauman's growth strategy.
- Is Quizilla the Answer for Viacom?: The latest in small-fry dot-com purchases.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz doesn't know if he still wants his MTV, but he does know his youngest son is glued to Nickelodeon. He owns shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.