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Thanks, Snooki! Viacom Profits Soar 51% on Cable Revenues

Cost-cutting — and smaller film slate at Paramount helped, too

Viacom reported on Thursday that its second quarter profit soared 51 percent, as revenue from its cable networks like MTV and vigilant cost-cutting at its Paramount film studio boosted earnings.

Net income was $420 million, or 69 cents per share, during the quarter – up from $277 million, or 46 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Viacom’s overall revenue — $3.3 billion – was flat. Overall advertising revenues grew 4 percent.

The news comes on the heels of similarly glowing earnings reports from fellow media conglomerates CBS Corp., News Corp. and Time Warner.

Sumner Redstone, Viacom’s executive chairman, said he was “very pleased” with results that “reflect our focused strategy, our creative ingenuity and our disciplined financial approach.”

Cable revenue climbed 6 percent to $2.09 billion, while profit ticked up14 percent to $789 million. Viacom attributed the rise to higher affiliate and advertising revenues, which have been attracted to original programming such as MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”

Revenue at Paramount dipped 10 percent to $1.25 billion, but net income was $69 million for the quarter, thanks to “Iron Man 2,” “Shrek Forever After” and fewer costs on a smaller slate of releases.

"Our film slate strategy focused on franchise opportunities coupled with the studio's continued bottom-line vigilance is generating strong results,” Viacom president and CEO Phillip Dauman noted. “Our tentpole releases, Marvel Studios' ‘Iron Man 2’ and DreamWorks Animation's ‘Shrek Forever After,’ both rank among the top five films in domestic box office for the year."

Worldwide theatrical revenues grew 10 percent in the quarter, Viacom said.