Vivendi revs fueled by digital music, games


PARIS -- French media and telecommunications company Vivendi saw a 2.9% year-over-year increase in 2006 revenue to €20 billion ($26.1 billion) as fourth-quarter revenue rose 1.2% to €5.6 billion ($7.2 billion), the company said Wednesday.

Assuming constant currencies, quarterly revenue grew 2.6%.

Vivendi, based here, will report full financials for the latest quarter and year, including bottom line figures, later.

Universal Music Group saw fourth-quarter revenue decline 1.5% to ?1.7 billion ($2.2 billion), hurt by the dollar's decline, but on a constant currency basis, revenue rose 1.7%. Full-year results reached €5 billion ($6.5 billion), a 1.3% jump compared with 2005, or 1.5% assuming constant currencies.

The year's increase was partly thanks to an 84% increase in digital music revenue and best-selling albums including new releases from U2, Andrea Bocelli, Snow Patrol, Nelly Furtado and the Killers. The fourth-quarter included such best-sellers as Jay Z, Gwen Stefani, Akon and U2, led by frontman Bono (pictured).

Canal Plus Group's quarterly revenue rose 2.9% to €918 million ($1.2 billion), with the full-year's €3.6 billion ($4.7 billion) marking a year-over-year jump of 7.7%. A key driver here was the rise in the number of subscriptions to more than 8.6 million for its package deals.

The company's film distribution division StudioCanal posted lower full-year results despite strong boxoffice performances in France for "Days of Glory" and "I Do."

Vivendi Games' revenue of €804 million ($1.1 billion) for 2006 marked a 25.4% jump, with the latest quarter bringing in a 33% year-over-year gain to €326 million ($425 million). The improvement was mostly thanks to the continued worldwide success of "World of Warcraft," a subscription-based, online game with more than 8 million players, in addition to new releases "Scarface: The World is Yours," "Ice Age: The Meltdown" and "Eragon."