Rock Band Falls Flat for Viacom, but Profits Soar
Here’s the problem for Viacom, the media conglomerate that brings you both the Rock Band videogame and the “Jersey Shore” reality show: It brings you both the Rock Band videogame and the “Jersey Shore” reality show.
The latter is a hit for Viacom’s MTV, but sales of the once hot videogame have cooled off, which helped push fourth-quarter revenue down three percent, to $4.1 billion. Wall Street was looking for revenue of $4.23 billion.
The good news: Viacom is much more profitable than it was a year ago, due to hits from its Paramount movie studio, higher license fees from its cable subscribers and some serious cost-cutting: After factoring out one-time charges, the company posted earnings of $1.09 per share, much higher than the 87 cents investors were looking for.
Worldwide ad revenue was down three percent, and domestic ads were down four percent. But like other cable networks, the fees Viacom extracts from cable providers kept rising, pushing up 11 percent worldwide.