NEW YORK (AP) — Viacom Inc. said Thursday that net income rose sharply in its fiscal first quarter compared with results depressed by a large accounting charge a year ago. But its revenue and adjusted earnings fell because of a decline at its Paramount studio business and lower advertising revenue at its Nickelodeon television channels.
Net income rose to $470 million, or 92 cents per share, in the fiscal first quarter, compared with $212 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier. That period included $379 million in charges related to a contract battle with the maker of the "Rock Band" video games, Harmonix Music Systems Inc.
After adjustments, Viacom earned 91 cents a share, a penny above the 90 cents expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. A year ago, adjusted earnings came to $1.06.
Revenue fell 16 percent to $3.3 billion from $3.95 billion a year ago. But the latest figure was short of the $3.48 billion expected.
Viacom's stock price rose, briefly hitting an all-time high.
Revenue at the Paramount filmed entertainment business fell 37 percent to $975 million, largely because the release schedule. The 2011 period included such hits as "Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol" in theaters and a "Transformer" movie on home video. Viacom also saw declines in licensing fees from television shows it produces, reflecting the number and mix of titles available.
Viacom's larger business, the television networks such as MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, saw a 2 percent decline in revenue to $2.39 billion. The company blamed its kid-focused Nickelodeon channels and said U.S. ad revenue would have grown if those channels were excluded.
During a conference call with analysts, CEO Philippe Dauman said Nickelodeon was showing signs of improvement thanks to specials and other event programs. He said the company's focus now was on strengthening its Saturday morning lineup, its weekday afternoon shows and its preschool viewership — the latter so that young kids would turn into long-term viewers as they grow up.
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