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Viacom Profit Up 56%

3 May, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

Better fiscal second-quarter numbers out of Paramount helped lead parent company Viacom to a profit of $585 million, up 56% from the $376 million it reported during the second fiscal quarter of 2011.

Revenue for the quarter (ended March 31) was up 2% to $3.33 billion from $3.27 billion.

During a conference call with investors, Viacom CEO and president Philippe Dauman called Paramount the “best-run” studio in Hollywood. Filmed entertainment revenues were down 5% to $1.16 billion, but filmed entertainment operating income grew 195%, to $115 million from $39 million.

“Paramount Pictures turned in outstanding bottom line results, with a targeted slate of films, a smart strategy that embraces new digital opportunities and an ongoing focus on efficiency,” he said. “In the current quarter, Titanic in 3D became a worldwide hit for the second time, and we look forward to the release of The Dictator, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted later in the quarter.”

Viacom reported that home entertainment revenue was up slightly. Worldwide filmed entertainment ancillary revenue was up 41% to $111 million in the quarter, thanks mostly to higher digital revenue.

Dauman noted that during the quarter Viacom closed a number of distribution deals, including an agreement that provides library content to Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service.

Dauman also praised the Epix movie service, which is co-owned by Lionsgate, Paramount and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, saying it “continues to increase in value” and “is drawing a lot of value to current Epix distributors and a lot of interest for potential distributors.”

An exclusivity deal that gives Netflix access to Epix content ends this year, and Dauman was mum when asked about reports saying Epix may be in talks with Apple and its iTunes service.

“As it relates to Netflix, they’re obviously a great partner and has been a great partner for Epix, and we will continue to be on Netflix under any circumstance,” he said. “Not surprisingly, there are other companies interested in the content, but Epix will announce what it’s going to do as time progresses. We have a very good and strong relationship with Netflix.”

That comment sent shares of Netflix down more than 7.5% at the close of trading May 3.

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