“Rock Band” performs for Viacom


We’re referring to the hit video game, which helped drive 16% revenue growth for Viacom’s Media Networks unit in Q1, along with 8% ad revenue growth for the cable networks. The movie biz lost less money, so earnings per share gained 45% from a year ago to 42 cents, or a total of $270 million.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman reiterated that “content creation is our central mission” and noted successes with new programs across a number of channels, including MTV, BET and TV Land. “Audiences are also responding to our digital content, which is moving beyond our own branded sites through smart distribution deals with leading online and mobile partners,” he said.

Viacom was pretty resilient in the current soft economy, with worldwide ad revenues for its networks up 8% to $1.05 billion, driven by Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and TV Land. But the big driver for the Media Networks division was the music video game “Rock Band,” which boosted the ancillary revenues line by 72%, although the exact sales numbers for the game aren’t being revealed. So, Media Networks revenues in total were up 16% to just over $2 billion and operating income for the division grew 15% to $694 million.

Filmed entertainment took in 12% more revenue, to $1.15 billion. That cut the operating loss to $63 million from $108 million.