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Home Entertainment Up 33% for Paramount

5 Aug, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

Home entertainment sales of True Grit and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never helped push Paramount Home Entertainment revenue up 33% to $331 million for the three months ended June 30, Paramount parent company Viacom reported Aug. 5.

In all, filmed entertainment revenue for the quarter was up 13% to $1.4 billion, though profit was down 29% to $49 million.

“Paramount Pictures is the first studio ever to deliver a record six consecutive $100 million-plus domestic box office movies, and it was the first studio to cross the $1 billion domestic box office threshold for the fifth year in a row,” said Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. He noted that the strong summer slate of Super 8, Thor, Kung Fu Panda 2 and the third installment of “Transformers” would help drive home entertainment revenue later in the year.

Recent digital distribution deals, including those with Netflix and Hulu, also helped drive up revenue for the quarter, and Dauman during a conference call with investors said more are on the way. Richard Greenfield, analyst with BTIG Research in New York, estimated that digital deals contributed $70 million in the quarter for Viacom.

“A lot of deals we’ve been doing do relate primarily to library products,” Dauman said. “There will be additional agreements. We’re in a number of discussions right now.”

On the news that Paramount was launching its own animation division, Dauman dismissed speculation that there was any “friction” between the studio and DreamWorks Animation, which looks to Paramount for distribution. However, Dauman admitted the studio is “proceeding on the operating assumption that [Paramount] will not be extending the DreamWorks Animation deal beyond next year.”

“There has been a surprising amount of attention on this issue,” he said. “We look forward to distributing Puss in Boots in the fall and the remaining two films under our deal next year. 

“Paramount will do just fine under any scenario, and DreamWorks Animation will do just fine under any scenario," Dauman added. "The only issue is what DreamWorks Animation wants to do strategically going forward, and how that fits with our own strategic objectives, and that’s all there is to it.”

Overall, Viacom posted a quarterly profit of $574 million, up 37% year-over-year, thanks primarily to better cable advertising. Revenue for the quarter was $3.77 billion, up 15%.

Media networks revenue delivered $2.39 billion in revenue, up 16%.

“We are strengthening our global entertainment brands and expanding our reach through new international and digital distribution and bringing our audiences the content they want on new platforms,” Dauman said.


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