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Viacom Reports Strong Q4

1 Mar, 2007 By: Jessica Wolf

Viacom Inc. reported healthy financial results in filmed entertainment, and executives reinforced the company's commitment to growing the digital market.

Revenues doubled year-over-year to reach $1.57 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006 for the company's filmed entertainment segment, which includes Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks.

The acquisition of DreamWorks and the theatrical and home video distribution of DreamWorks live-action catalog titles, as well as DreamWorks Animation titles, contributed $560 million to the quarter's revenue.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said there are three key strategies for the coming year for Paramount to keep up the momentum — the creation of a new direct-to-DVD division, the creation of a Paramount TV business, and more digital distribution partnerships for Paramount catalog titles, such as the ones the company recently inked with iTunes and Bittorrent.

Viacom's MTV Networks programs available for purchase at iTunes have clocked in 11 million downloads, Dauman said.

Viacom will continue to seek out ways to monetize its content via digital delivery partners, Dauman said, touting the company's recently announced deal with new ad-supported video streaming site Joost.com.

The Joost deal adds both revenue and visibility to Viacom's brands, Dauman said, unlike sites such as Google's Youtube.com, where somewhere around 100,000 copyrighted videos from the company's MTV Networks programming were uploaded illegally.

Since Viacom demanded Youtube remove its content from the user-generated-video site, the company has seen a 90% boost in traffic at Comedy Central.com, a 30% increase in site visitors at Nickelodeon.com, and around 50% increase at MTV.com, executives said.

The Joost deal not only gives Viacom the bulk of ad revenues from the site, according to Dauman, the site also includes links to Viacom-owned sites where the company realizes 100% of revenue.

“Our content has been a dominant feature at Youtube and it was a substantial part of the traffic,” Dauman said. “We are very pleased to have more traffic now on our own sites, because we are able to monetize that, at the same time we are interested in deals that provide distribution for our content in a controlled way.”

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