Viacom Earnings Jump 32% in 3rd Quarter

Times Staff and Wire Reports

Viacom Inc. said its earnings jumped 32% in the third quarter on rising revenue from MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures and Blockbuster Entertainment. The New York-based entertainment company said profit from continuing operations rose to $102.1 million, or 24 cents a share, from $77.5 million, or 17 cents, in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue rose 14% to $3.35 billion. The results mark a surprising reversal for Viacom, which reported a 41% earnings drop in the previous quarter amid disappointing film receipts and reduced cash flow at Blockbuster. The improvement resulted in part from soaring advertising revenue at MTV Networks' No. 1-ranked Nickelodeon cable channel and improved box office from "Mission: Impossible," "First Wives Club" and other movies. Results, including a 6% increase in cash flow to $701 million, beat analysts' estimates. Viacom was expected to earn 16 cents a share. Some analysts credited Viacom chief Sumner Redstone with the improvement. Viacom Class B shares jumped $2.625 to $35.25 on the Amex.

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