DOWNTURNS AT CABLE, FILM HIT VIACOM
Sumner Redstone, the chairman of CBS and Viacom, got good news and bad about his two media companies on Thursday. On the one hand, CBS reported record profits in the last quarter; on the other hand, Viacom’s profits sank. The blow to Redstone’s older and larger media conglomerate might have been less troubling had its impact not affected virtually every unit of its operations. Overall earnings dropped 7 percent to $534 million on revenue of $3.24 billion — down 14 percent. At its cable networks, revenue was down nearly across the board as viewers deserted them at such massive rates — particularly at kids channel Nickelodeon — that for a time Viacom thought that a glitch had occurred in the ratings tabulations. At its movie studio, it had a moderate hit with DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar 3, but landing the domestic distributorship for Titanic 3Dfailed to produce the expected results. It opened with just $17 million and went on to gross $58 million over its entire run. Revenue at Viacom’s Paramount unit was down 29 percent, while worldwide theatrical revenue plunged 52 percent. Revenue from worldwide television syndication was down 24 percent.