Viacom Earnings Up Thanks to ‘Beatles,’ B.O.

Company’s quarterly profit up on back of “Rock Band” game, “Transformers,” “G.I. Joe” movies.

Last Updated: November 3, 2009 @ 7:32 PM

Viacom said Tuesday that its third-quarter earnings increased 15 percent – beating most analysts’ expectations – due to the success of its “Beatles: Rock Band” video game and feature films “Tranformers: Revenge of the Fallen” and “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra.”

But Viacom’s overall revenues slid 3 percent (to $3.32 billion) during the quarter – due primarily to the global advertising slump – which overcame increases in movie revenues.

Revenues from its filmed entertainment segment fell 6 percent to $1.22 billion, due to a slump in home entertainment sales that more than offset growth in theatrical revenues. However, “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” fueled a 16 percent increase in worldwide theatrical revenues. Television license fees were down 8 percent during the quarter.

Net income for Viacom increased to $463 million, up from $401 million during the third quarter of 2008.

Viacom, which owns Paramount and MTV, also benefited from cost-cutting across its brands.

Paramount, specifically, reported $69 million operating profit during the third quarter, a $90 million turnaround from its $19 million operating loss last year.

Sumner Redstone, the company’s executive chairman, said Viacom “is already beginning to reap the benefits of a highly focused and well executed strategy.”

“By keeping a sharp eye on costs while continuing to invest in programming,” he said, “Viacom is in a strong position to benefit as the economic clouds begin to part.”