Viacom to launch Nickelodeon SVOD service as its ad sales slide 6%

Viacom is the latest programmer to launch an a la carte SVOD programming service, a new streaming product built around its Nickelodeon kids' linear network set to debut in March.

The announcement was made Thursday, during the media conglomerate's fiscal first quarter earnings call.

"We believe this innovative service, which will have a distinct brand and will target the fast-growing mobile market, will be very attractive for parents and children," Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told investors.

Viacom has seen ratings for its linear Nickelodeon network slip precipitously in recent quarters, with much of the channel's youthful audience consuming its content on SVOD services including Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX).

The move follows similar announcements from HBO and CBS, which are also launching--or have launched--SVOD services that don't require a pay-TV subscription.

Viacom's net earnings for the three-month period ending Dec. 31 declined 9 percent to $500 million, with U.S. ad sales revenue falling 6 percent.

The media conglomerate's total revenue rose 5 percent to $3.34 billion, driven by an 8 percent increase in affiliate fees from pay-TV operators. But operating income from Viacom networks declined 1 percent to $1.104 billion.

Notably absent from Thursday's Viacom earnings call was 92-year-old chairman Sumner Redstone, who is reported to be in declining health.

For more:
- read this Viacom earnings release
- listen to this Viacom earnings call
- read this Wall Street Journal story
- read this Los Angeles Times story

Related links:
Commercials on cable spiked 7% in Q4
Viacom gives Dauman another raise amid Dish blackout fears, falling stock price
Viacom misplays its renewal negotiations with Suddenlink

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