Viacom Inc., the owner of Paramount Pictures, MTV and Comedy Central, on Thursday said its net income rose 56 percent in the latest quarter, even though a slate of movies that was lackluster compared with last year held back revenue.
Viacom earned $585 million, or $1.07 per share, in the January to March quarter. That compares with $376 million, or 63 cents per share, it earned in the same period last year. Viacom has bought back shares, reducing stock outstanding and boosting earnings per share.
Excluding special items, earnings were 98 cents per share in the fiscal second quarter, 9 cents above the average analyst estimate as polled by FactSet.
The New York-based media company said its revenue rose 2 percent to $3.33 billion, matching analyst estimates.
Revenue rose 5 percent at Viacom's TV networks, and fell 5 percent at Paramount, as movies like "The Devil Inside," ''A Thousand Words," and "Jeff, Who Lives at Home," did not match hits from last year like "Rango" and "No Strings Attached."
However, the lower movie revenue was more than offset by lower distribution costs, so Paramount's operating income expanded, contributing to the overall profit increase.
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