Viacom aims to improve ad sales in Q1

CEO predicts quicker upfront ad sales process

NEW YORK -- Viacom Inc.'s TV network unit will improve its advertising performance in the first quarter to about flat over the year-ago period, president and CEO Philippe Dauman said Tuesday.

Speaking at a Credit Suisse media investor conference in Florida in a session that was webcast, Dauman said the current quarter will clearly be better than the 4% U.S. ad decline recorded in the fourth quarter of 2009.

He also predicted a quicker upfront ad sales process this year with "significantly higher" ad pricing than last year.

Dauman also joined TW chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes in dismissing the current economics of online video site Hulu.

"There is not enough in it for us to stay in it," Dauman said in explaining why Viacom's Comedy Central recently took hit shows "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" off Hulu following a trial.

If Hulu provided a "better monetization model" for content providers, Viacom could go back with those shows, he said.