VIACOM REPORTS $1.1 BILLION LOSS

TV, Cable Shows Gains for Quarter

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Viacom saw its revenues for the first quarter this year dip to $5.67 billion, down from $5.75 billion last year.

Overall, the company posted a net loss of $1.1 billion, down from a loss of $7.3 million for the same period in 2001 on a $1.5 billion writedown of goodwill related to the Blockbuster division; without the goodwill charge, Viacom showed $367.4 million in net income.

Loss per share was or 63 cents, or earnings of 21 cents per share without the goodwill charge.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, for Viacom's cable unit was $403.3 million, up 12%; for its network and syndication divisions, EBITDA was $252.2 million, down 20% from a year ago.

Viacom's cable properties

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include networks MTV, Showtime and Nickelodeon; its broadcast stations include CBS and UPN. Other properties for the media company include movie studio Paramount Pictures and publisher Simon & Schuster.

Bullish for year
Company executives said they were bullish in their phone call with analysts today, largely on the promise that the slumping ad market is on a strong rebound that will propel a strong second quarter.

The company reaffirmed its guidance for double-digit EBIDA and earnings-per-share growth for the full year.

"The good news is the bad appears to be behind us," said Chairman-CEO Sumner Redstone.

In particular, President-COO Mel Karmazin cited MTV's popular show The Osbournes as a boon, though perhaps unexpected.

"The Osbournes, like the original Survivor, is more than just a hit show. ... It really is a phenomenon," Mr. Karmazin said. "We're doing a really good job of selling advertising in that extraordinary show."

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