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Viacom Inc. (VIAB - Analyst Report)) is set to release its first-quarter 2013 results before the market opens on Thursday, Jan 31.

In the last quarter, it delivered a positive earnings surprise of 3.42%. Out of the last four quarters, the company thrice reported positive earnings surprises. Let’s see how things are shaping up prior to the announcement.

Factors to Consider this Quarter

Viacom is well positioned for long-term growth as it continues to benefit from its predominately cable networks-based business model, strong affiliate fee revenue growth, strong share repurchase plan, multi-platform content, and is one of the fastest growing traditional ad media. Moreover, settlement of fee related issues with DIRECTV will further bolster its affiliated revenue growth.

However, sluggish economic growth and lesser number of popular movies released during this quarter may pull down top-line growth while moving ahead.


The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter has moved up by a penny to 92 cents per share over the last 7 days as the tendency for an upward estimate revision was more obvious mainly buoyed by strong political ad revenue growth.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Viacomis likely to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the fourth quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or at least Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) or Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) for this to happen. Unfortunately this is not the case here as elaborated below.

Negative Zacks ESP: This is because the Most Accurate estimate stands at 90 cents while the Zacks Consensus is higher at 91 cents. This results in a difference of -1.1%.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): Viacom’s Zacks Rank of 3, however, increases the predictive power of ESP. That said we also need to have a positive ESP to be confident for an earnings surprise call.

Other Stocks to Consider

Here are some other companies you may want to consider as our model shows they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Comcast Corporation (CMCSA - Analyst Report) has Earnings ESP of a +1.89% and carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). It is scheduled to report its fourth quarter results on Feb 13.

Cablevision Systems Corporation (CVC - Snapshot Report) is scheduled to release its fourth quarter results on Feb 12. It has Earnings ESP of +10.00% and holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Liberty Global Inc. (LBTYA - Analyst Report) has Earnings ESP of + 86.67% and carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). It is yet to release its fourth quarter results.

 

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