'Strong' Beatles: Rock Band sales bolster Viacom results

Fab Four's gaming debut helps reverse slumping rhythm game sales, but can't push media empire to revenue growth.


In July, Viacom announced its second quarter results, lamenting the effect of dramatically slumping rhythm game sales on its bottom line. Today, the media company behind MTV Networks, BET Networks, and Paramount Pictures released its third quarter results, and as expected, the release of The Beatles: Rock Band helped reverse that trend.

"You never give me your money…"

In a statement accompanying the numbers, Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman touted the game as one of its major successes for the three months ended September 30, alongside the latest "record-setting" installment of MTV's Video Music Awards and the continued performance of Paramount's summer blockbuster Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

For the quarter, Viacom's Media Networks division (which includes The Beatles: Rock Band) posted revenues of just over $2.12 billion, essentially unchanged from the same quarter the year before.

"Strong sales of The Beatles: Rock Band video game were offset by lower home entertainment and consumer products revenues, resulting in a 3 percent decrease in worldwide ancillary revenues," the company said.

Besides MTV and MTV Games, Viacom's Media Networks segment encompasses several television networks and their umbrella organizations. These include BET, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon, as well as cross-media properties, such as the Addicting Games casual game portal and the Xfire communication and networking service.

Viacom as a whole showed improvement for the quarter. While revenues were still down 3 percent overall to $3.32 billion, net income was up 15 percent to $443 million. However, the company's numbers are still down for the full year. For the nine months ended September 30, Viacom posted revenues down 8 percent to $9.52 billion, and net income down 15 percent to $897 million.

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