Viacom Inc. shares surged as the company, the owner of Comedy Central and MTV, predicted U.S. advertising sales would return to growth later this year.
“We believe we have reached a turning point in our domestic advertising story,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Bakish said on an earnings call.
Viacom’s domestic advertising revenue will improve in large part because its TV networks have regained wide distribution with Charter Communications Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cable operator, and Suddenlink Communications, a smaller provider, Bakish said. That will also lead to improved U.S. subscriber revenue.
Bakish’s projections convinced investors that he’s making headway in efforts to turn around the beleaguered media company. Shares of Viacom jumped 7.2 percent to $32.71 at the close in New York, the biggest gain in almost a month.
The stock rose despite Viacom’s report of lower revenue for the first three months of fiscal 2018, a reminder of why the controlling Redstone family wants to merge the company with their other big media investment, CBS Corp.