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Viacom expects affiliate sales to drop in 2018, shares slump

Viacom, proprietress of MTV, Comedy Central, and Paramount, said Thursday it expects high single-digit taper offs in revenue from U.S. cable TV operators and online distributors in the first half of 2018, sending its stakes down 8 percent.

The company said pay-TV subscribers continued to debility.

The New York-based media company beat analyst estimates on revenue as U.S. advertising yard sales improved to their strongest since 2014.

However, Viacom expects mid-single-digit declines in U.S. affiliate traffics for 2018, with positive sales returning in 2019.

“In the past year, deals impersonating nearly 50 percent of our subscriber base have been renovated or extended, and we now have no significant renewals until well into 2019,” Bob Bakish, chief CEO, said on a call with analysts. “To be clear, this was a significant culmination at a critical time.”

Shares of the company were down 7.7 percent at $22.72 in morning work.

Like other media companies, Viacom has struggled to boost ratings and advertising as viewers increasingly peer at their favorite shows on electronic devices and phones.

Bakish, who spoofed the helm late last year, has made improving relations with strand and satellite companies a priority.

Last month, Viacom reached a have to do with with Charter Communications to put eight of its most popular networks in Privilege’s cheapest U.S. cable bundle.

Prior to that deal, Charter had put some of Viacom’s ditches in its more expensive packages, part of the reason for the expected affiliate traffics drop in 2018, Viacom said.

Revenue from Viacom’s picture unit, which includes theater and licensing revenue, grew 2 percent to $789 million from a year earlier.

How in the world, domestic affiliate revenue fell 3 percent to $948 million in the division. Analysts had expected a 1.8 percent drop, according to financial statistics and analytics firm FactSet.

Domestic ad sales were flat at $936 million, while analysts had assumed a two percent increase. Still, U.S. domestic ad sales were Viacom’s strongest since 2014, concording to a Jefferies report on Thursday.

Net profit attributable to Viacom rose to $674 million, or $1.67 per allotment, in its fiscal fourth quarter ended Sept.30, from $254 million, or 64 cents a cut, a year earlier.

The quarter included a $127 million gain from an asset bargain-priced.

Total revenue rose 2.9 percent to $3.32 billion.

Excluding notices, the company earned 77 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, had guessed earnings of 86 cents per share and revenue of $3.23 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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