Viacom disappoints

Viacom’s third-quarter earnings disappointed as the company announced plans to sell the division that produced the disappointing video game Rock Band.

Net earnings were $189 million down from $463 million a year ago. The result includes a $299 million loss from discontinued operations including the Harmonix video game unit. Net earnings from continuing operations rose 7 per cent to $461 million. Revenues rose 5 per cent to $3.3 billion.

“Investing in our content and our brands has been and will continue to be the cornerstone of Viacom’s strategy. We never wavered from it even as we managed through the global recession,” said Philippe Dauman, Viacom president and CEO. “As a result, many of our cable networks today are achieving new ratings highs and producing hit shows that feed the cultural dialogue in the U.S. and abroad. This creative success coupled with the improving economy has fueled our advertising revenues, which were up 8 per cent in the U.S. this quarter, our third consecutive quarter of sequential improvement.”

Viacom’s Media Networks group, which includes MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, had operating income of $873 million, up 9 per cent from a year ago. Revenues were up 8 per cent to $2.1 billion

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