This morning Viacom (the parent of Paramount Pictures) released its fourth quarter and full year results for 2009 and the results are good, surpassing Wall Street estimates. And Star Trek is part of that success story, specifically being mentioned in the official Viacom corporate statement, as well as in the financial and industry press.
Star Trek helps Viacom comeback
In the corporate report for the quarter and the year, Star Trek is touted twice. Firstly in discussing the Q4 Revenues:
[Fourth quarter] worldwide home entertainment revenues of $1.15 billion represent a 12% increase over the prior year’s fourth quarter results and reflect the strong performance of the DVD and Blu-ray releases of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, Star Trek and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Worldwide television license fees grew 27% to $445 million.
And when discussing the annual income:
Full Year 2009 adjusted operating income grew 1% to $3.0 billion versus $2.98 billion in 2008, reflecting a significant increase in profitability in the Filmed Entertainment segment primarily fueled by the success of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Star Trek and Paranormal Activity as well as the benefit of restructuring and other cost-containment initiatives. Filmed Entertainment operating income grew from $88 million in 2008 to $236 million in 2009.
The report also includes a statement from Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman that discusses how franchises like Star Trek fit into the corporate strategy:
Paramount Pictures significantly boosted its profitability in 2009 as the studio’s strategy of producing a smaller slate of films, anchored by franchises, began to pick up momentum. We also were pleased to see renewed consumer demand for our new DVD and Blu-ray releases in the fourth quarter.
The news of Viacoms surge in profitability has gone over well with the financial and industry press. Business Week has the headline "Viacom Profit Climbs on DVD Sales of ‘Star Trek’", The Wrap’s headline is "’Star Trek,’ ‘Transformers 2,’ ‘G.I. Joe’ Trigger Big Profits for Viacom.", and the Reuters subhead has "Viacom Inc’s profit surpassed expectations thanks to a round of cost-cutting and brisk sales of DVDs like “Star Trek” and “Transformers 2”"
It is good to see that Star Trek is once again a key asset for Paramount and Viacom.
CBS reports next week
While the Star Trek film library and rights to make feature films sits with Paramount, it is CBS Corporation that owns the Star Trek brand. CBS reports its annual results next week. Star Trek certainly made a contribution to CBS revenue in 2009 with books, some library DVD releases, ongoing TV series syndication, and licensing deals (toys, games, etc). Of course to make the big bucks, CBS would have bring Star Trek back to series television. There are still no indications if or when this will happen, but if Star Trek continues to pay off for Viacom, how long until CBS decides it wants to cash in on the new found value of their brand?