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Home Entertainment Helps Drive Paramount Profit

28 Apr, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

Digital distribution offsets soft disc revenue

Home entertainment revenue for Paramount Pictures rose 38% to $410 million during the studio’s second fiscal quarter of 2011 (ended March 31), helping parent Viacom Inc. post sharply higher financial results.

During an April 28 call with investors, Viacom CEO and president Philippe Dauman acknowledged the downward trend of disc and the need for Paramount to latch onto digital distribution models.

“In general the home entertainment, DVD marketplace continues to be soft, specifically for catalog,” he said. “I don’t expect, on an overall basis, that the DVD market will strengthen from here. But I do expect you will see a growth in digital streams, and as we go through that transition, we think we’ll [find] a good place, especially for the types of titles we’re producing.”

The studio’s home entertainment releases of The Fighter, Jackass 3 and Megamind all enjoyed the top spot in home video sales when first released during the quarter, with both The Fighter and Megamind also debuting at No. 1 in the rankings for Blu-ray Disc and rental, according to Nielsen VideoScan First Alert data and Home Media Magazine’s rental chart, respectively.

Paramount Home Entertainment released nine new titles in the home entertainment market during the quarter (The Fighter, Megamind, Jackass 3, Paranormal Activity 2, Dinner for Schmucks, Morning Glory, Case 39, Waiting for Superman and Middle Men), compared with only one during the same quarter in 2010 (Up in the Air).

Overall, Viacom reported quarterly revenue of $3.27 billion, up 20% from $2.73 billion during the same quarter in 2010. Profit was up 53% to $376 million, compared with $245 million during the same quarter in 2010. Filmed entertainment revenue played its part, up 38% to $1.23 billion. Theatrical revenues grew 50% to $401 million, thanks to the recent release of the animated Rango and carryover box office contributions from True Grit, Little Fockers and The Fighter.

Viacom saw its TV license fees grow 30% to $336 million, which is attributed to higher network TV and syndication fees.

Paramount has a lot to look forward to this summer as well, Dauman noted, pointing to the upcoming releases of Marvel’s Thor, DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2, J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

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