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Viacom Has Weak Q1

Despite big box office, overall profits drop 34%.

Viacom’s first quarter was simply bleak, with the conglomerate’s profits tumbling 34%, and net income falling to $177 million from $270 million. Revenue dipped 7% to $2.9 billion.


At Paramount, losses widened to $123 million, while revenue fell 5% to 1.1 billion. The studio is readying two big releases for the summer: “Star Trek” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”


Media networks profit dropped 9% to $629 million, and revenue fell 8% at $1.9 billion.


The advertising market was also rocked, as sales of consumer products plunged 37% led by weak sales of videogame “Rock Band.”


Despite the steep losses, chief executive Philippe Dauman, on the company’s Thursday conference call, put a positive spin on everything, saying there were some better times ahead.


“We have seen signs in the last several weeks that the economy might be stabilizing,” he said. “We’re feeling considerably better than we felt two to three months ago.”


While Paramount losses widened, folks were still going to movie theaters, which led to a 15% jump in theatrical revenue, offset by a 9% decline in home entertainment sales.


During the call, chairman Sumner Redstone said there was “substantial interest” in National Amusements theater company, which his family has put up for sale.