Viacom makes programming pledge amid cutbacks

Despite revising earnings guidance downwards, Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman has told TBIvision that the current financial crisis will not impact upon the programming on its cable networks.

Viacom is, however, bracing itself for a tough period. "The financial markets are going through a series of difficult events," Dauman said. "All we can do is pursue our targets, we have great brands and multiple sources of revenue. But there may be some challenges for a period, relating to advertising revenues."

Last Friday Viacom told the market its full year 2008 revenues will be below previous expectations, in the mid-single to low double digit percentage range, because of the soft advertising market. In a statement Dauman said that the company will "take appropriate steps to secure new efficiencies that will enhance our long-term earnings growth prospects."

These efficiencies will not, however, impact the programming on Viacom’s range of pay TV networks, Dauman said.

"We’ve already been seeking efficiencies as the business develops. We’ve done it in the international operation through 2007 and we’ll continue driving those, domestically as well," he said. "But one thing we won’t do is cut back on what’s on screen because that’s the lifeblood of our brands."