Viacom looks to growth in Europe after difficult 2013

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has said that its business in Europe is stabilising after a difficult period caused by the region’s wider economic challenges and he is targeting strong growth from the region.

Philippe DaumanSpeaking to analysts in the wake of the media giant’s fourth quarter and full-year results, Dauman said: “2013 was really a year which was difficult for us in continental Europe.”

He added that Viacom had used that time to extend its channel ownership and footprint with Paramount Channel launching in France and other new territories and the company taking control of its channel operations in Spain and Italy and relaunching in Russia.

“With the stabilisation in Europe, we look to go back to growing our margins,” Dauman said. “Our objective is to get to the 20%-plus margins over time. We had hoped to get there by now, but with that setback it’ll be a little delayed, but we will get there.”

The Viacom boss also referenced its move to take control of MTV in Brazil and the growth of its Indian channels joint venture. He said: “I go across the world and I see a lot of opportunity over many years to grow our business, and we are committed to making our international networks business a very significant part of Viacom.”

Focusing on Viacom’s domestic business, Dauman said the shift of Nickelodeon programming from Netflix to Amazon is working for the channel given the way its content is presented on the streaming service and its consumer reach.

“While it’s a very successful driver for Amazon Prime and it’s a great partnership, there is significantly lower distribution than Netflix had,” Dauman said. “And for Nickelodeon content on Amazon Prime, it works really well for us because it’s a great branded environment. We believe that we get discovery of our programming by new kids. [That] helps consumer product sales on Amazon.”

Viacom reported full-year revenues of US$13.8 billion, a 1% decrease year-on-year. Net profit was US$2.4 billion, a 3% increase on the same period a year earlier.

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