Shrugging off the gloom plaguing the media industry at present, Vivendi Universal posted healthy earnings for the third quarter and declared it is on course to meet ambitious growth targets.

The France-headquartered group’s media businesses reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) growth of 90% to E1.5 billion ($1.36bn), on revenues of E7.3bn. These results do not include Vivendi’s water and waste utilities businesses, which are yet to unveil Q3 figures

Driving the earnings increase was the media mammoth’s film and TV unit (which includes movie studio Universal Pictures as well as pay-TV platform Canal Plus), buoyed by box office successes such as Jurassic Park III, Bridget Jones’s Diary and American Pie 2. The division saw EBITDA surge 73% to E328 million on E2.3bn revenues.

Vivendi has dodged the difficulties suffered by many rivals in the media industry in part because only 1% of its revenue is generated by advertising, limiting its exposure to the ad slump, while 44% comes from more recession-proof subscription services (such as Canal Plus and French wireless operator SFR).

Consequently, chairman Jean-Marie Messier was able to stick to earlier, aggressive full-year targets of a 10% revenue rise and 35% EBITDA growth. “An early look at the fourth quarter indicates that we are on track to meet our targets,” he said.

News source: Wall Street Journal